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COVID-19: Domestic Cleaners See Demand Drop



Nearly half of self- employed workers fear being unable to cover basic costs due to the Coronavirus pandemic, researchers say.

Research by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE)  found that 45% of the self-employed fear being unable to cover basic costs such as rent and bills despite government support.

Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at IPSE said: “This research shows that it is not just a few self-employed people falling through the cracks in the government support: right across the sector, freelancers are facing dire financial damage because of the Coronavirus crisis.”

How has this affected people?            

Amongst the five million people in the UK that are self- employed, just over 100,000 are domestic cleaners.  Many have seen demand for work decrease substantially.

I spoke with a cleaner in Birmingham who wished to remain anonymous, she said;

“ I  live with my daughter and contribute £450 per month towards our rent. Although the government has introduced legislation for renters, it simply does not make sense and still leaves private renters at significant risk of eviction once this is over.”

She said that as her tenancy agreement was in her daughter’s name, she was ineligible for government schemes that helped with rent costs.

On work, the self-employed cleaner said;

“Since losing work my daughter has looked after me financially, and luckily one of my clients, who is also a close family friend, gave me wages for the month even though I won’t be attending her premises this month.”

House Cleaners who use TidyChoice, an online platform for independent cleaners also spoke of financially struggling due to the lockdown.

One cleaner was struggling to buy food;

“ I was not prepared for the lockdown… I have been on Universal Credit for about a year and was working a limited number of hours as a cleaner to get the extra money to live on (but) now my earnings are down to £22 per week.

I normally shop at Lidl and buy yellow label marked-down food. Because of the panic buying there is much less marked-down food so I have to pay full price. This has made a big difference. I am now struggling to buy food.

I have been hit hard and I don’t know what I am going to do. It is a strain.”

IPSE highlighted that an income support scheme that provides grants to the self-employed won’t be up and running until June.

Andy Chamberlain said:  “The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) offered generous support to many sole traders, but there are a lot of freelancers who will struggle in the interim before it can be implemented..”


Eight in 10 Britons Ignore COVID-19 Self-Isolation Rules, Survey Finds



A new survey indicates more than 80% of people living in Britain with COVID-19 symptoms or who have had contact with someone who has tested positive are ignoring self-isolation guidelines.
The survey, released Friday and conducted by Kings College London and the National Health Service (NHS), found that only 18.2% of people who reported having symptoms of COVID-19 in the previous seven days have stayed isolated since their symptoms developed, and only 11.9% requested a COVID-19 test.
The research also shows fewer than half those surveyed were able to identify the symptoms of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.
The research also found that only 10.9% of people told to self-isolate after close contact with a COVID-19 case had done so for 14 days as required.
In a statement, the survey’s senior author, Kings College researcher Dr. James Rubin, said the research indicated that while the public seems to have good intentions to adhere to the test, trace and isolate guidelines, financial constraints are the most common reason given for non-compliance, among other factors.
Britain this week introduced fines of up to $12,780 for breaking self-isolation rules, and it is offering nearly $640 in support payments to low-paid workers who lose income from quarantining.
The study shows other reasons for non-compliance ranged from not knowing government guidance to being unable to identify the symptoms.
Kings College says the data was collected through surveys conducted among 30,000 people living in Britain between March and August of this year.

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UK’s Coronavirus Vaccine Is Safe And Induces An Immune Reaction



The UK’s Coronavirus Vaccine is safe and induces an immune reaction, according to preliminary results.

Results published today in the journal Lancet show that the early stage Oxford University trial has found that the vaccine is safe, causes few side effects, and induces strong immune responses in both parts of the immune system.

The trial of 1,077 healthy adults found that the vaccine induced strong antibody and T cell immune responses up to day 56 of the ongoing trial. 

Explaining how the vaccine works, study lead author Professor Andrew Pollard, University of Oxford, UK, said;

“The new vaccine is a chimpanzee adenovirus viral vector (ChAdOx1) vaccine that expresses the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. It uses a common cold virus (adenovirus) that infects chimpanzees, which has been weakened so that it can’t cause any disease in humans, and is genetically modified to code for the spike protein of the human SARS-CoV-2 virus.

This means that when the adenovirus enters vaccinated people’s cells it also delivers the spike protein genetic code. This causes these people’s cells to produce the spike protein, and helps teach the immune system to recognise the SARS-CoV-2 virus.” 

The current results focus on the immune response measured in a laboratory, and scientists say further testing is needed to confirm whether the vaccine effectively protects against infection.

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Another 1.5 Million File For Unemployment As States Continue To Reopen Economies, Totaling 44 Million People Unemployed




(NPR) — The pain in the job market continues as an additional 1.5 million sought jobless benefits for the first time last week, down 355,000 from the prior week. Continued claims fell by 339,000 to 20.9 million, a sign that more people are returning to work as the economy reopens after pandemic lockdowns.

More than 44 million first-time claims have been filed in the past 12 weeks.

The Federal Reserve is projecting that the unemployment rate will be more than 9% by year end, falling to 6.5% by the end of 2021.

That’s down from last month’s lower-than-expected 13.3% rate but up sharply from a nearly 50-year low of 3.5% earlier this year before the coronavirus crisis shut down much of the economy. Employers added 2.5 million jobs in May, but they slashed 20.7 million just a month earlier.

“The May employment report, of course, was a welcome surprise,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday. “We hope we get many more like it. But I think we have to be honest. It’s a long road.”

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