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Rishi Sunak works from home, wishes PM ‘speedy recovery’


Chancellor Rishi Sunak is reportedly considering an extension of the furlough scheme to July. (Courtesy: Twitter)
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is reportedly considering an extension of the furlough scheme to July. (Courtesy: Twitter)

CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak is working from home after Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock tested positive for coronavirus on Friday (27).

A finance ministry spokesperson, however, said Sunak was not self-quarantining as he had not shown any symptoms of infection.

The chancellor posted his wishes for a “speedy recovery” to Johnson and Hancock.

 

 

Friday (26) morning, the prime minister became the first global leader to test positive for COVID-19.

“Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus,” Johnson said. “I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus.”

In a span of hours, Hancock and Britain’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Witty, also confirmed that they had tested positive for the virus.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, however, said Johnson’s top team of ministers won’t be tested for coronavirus unless they show symptom.

Asked whether other cabinet ministers would automatically be tested, Gove said: “People are tested if they are symptomatic and those members of the central effort in helping to defeat the virus who do show symptoms are appropriately tested.

“But I think you can tell from the fact that the three of us are here that demonstrates that there are three of us who have not yet demonstrated any symptoms.”

All eyes were on Sunak as soon as Johnson’s announcement came.

The chancellor was facing a daunting task of steering the economy through the pandemic.

Working from home, Sunak tweeted on support to workers and businesses, highlighting the “Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme”.

“Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, I’ve made it clear that hard-working employers and employees should not have to suffer hardship unnecessarily,” he said.

“Our Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme supports workers and businesses up and down the UK – and today we’re strengthening it because we will do whatever it takes to support jobs.”

Economist Dr Gerard Lyons said Sunak was “trying to ensure as much of the economy as possible survives it in hibernation”.

He had earlier praised the chancellor’s decision to pay the self-employed cash grants based, worth up to 80 per cent of earnings, capped at £2,500 a month.

Authoring a Policy Exchange report, Lyons said the “unprecedented” measures announced by Sunak “will not stop unemployment rising but could save close to 1.5  million jobs”.

“What Rishi Sunak has unveiled will help to keep the economy in hibernation during the crisis and leave it in a better state to recover,” he added.