Speculation is mounting that the final unlock of Covid-19 restrictions in England on 21 June will be delayed by prime minister Boris Johnson.
National press reports on Monday (14 June) suggest the delay to so-called “freedom day” is likely to be four weeks and will be revealed by Johnson at a press conference.
In another blow, the government is also poised to reject pleas from businesses to extend the furlough scheme.
Elsewhere, Aer Lingus had to cancel some short-haul flights over the weekend after its franchise partner, Stobart Air, suddenly went out of business.
Easing of lockdown delayed by four weeks
Prime minister Boris Johnson is to appeal to the nation for “patience”, with the government set to announce a delay of up to four weeks to the final lifting of Covid restrictions in England, due to fears over the surge in cases of the Delta variant of the virus. (The Times)
One last heave to freedom, PM to urge
Johnson will set out the government’s plans later on Monday (14 June) which are expected to include a continuation of the requirement to wear face masks and limiting the number of people who can meet indoors and outdoors beyond 21 June. Although there is speculation that the current limits on mass events and weddings could still be eased. (The Telegraph)
Chancellor rejects extension to furlough scheme
Rishi Sunak is set to reject pleas from businesses for the UK’s furlough scheme to be extended, despite the expected delay to the final unlocking of Covid restrictions. Furlough arrangements are due to start being phased out from 1 July before ending completely in September. (The Daily Mail)
Aer Lingus cancels flights after Stobart Air collapse
Several flights from Dublin and Belfast City airports had to be cancelled over the weekend after Aer Lingus’ franchise partner Stobart Air suddenly ceased trading on Friday night after talks over a rescue deal for Stobart failed. (Sky News)
Cardiff airport saw biggest drop in passengers
The Welsh airport was hardest hit in the UK by the pandemic with passenger numbers down by 87% in 2020 to just under 220,000. There was a fall of 223 million passengers to 74 million people across the entire UK airport sector last year compared with 2019. (BBC News)
Ticket to join Bezos in space raises $28 million
An auction to secure a place on a flight into space with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has sold for $28 million for the journey on the Blue Origin spacecraft – the equivalent of $9 million per minute. The money will be used to support Amazon’s education charity. (Financial Times)