Businesses await government support package to help cope with coronavirus

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to unveil a support package for businesses affected by coronavirus lat

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to unveil a support package for businesses affected by coronavirus later today. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Companies in Suffolk are set to eagerly await a new package of support for businesses hit by the coronavirus outbreak, which is due to be announced later today by chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The Conservative politician had already announced £12billion of emergency funding in last week’s Budget for those affected by the pandemic, which so far has claimed 55 lives in the UK.

MORE: Join our Facebook group for updates on coronavirusSo far, official statistics show that just three people in Suffolk have been diagnosed with the illness - but Stuart Keeble, Suffolk’s director of public health, has said that is likely to rise.

Prime minister Boris Johnson yesterday told people to avoid all non-essential contact to stop the spread of the virus, particularly saying that people should not go to pubs, clubs or restaurants.

That is likely to hit many Suffolk firms - but Mr Sunak is today set to announce a new support package for companies affected.

MORE: All of the coronavirus news in SuffolkThe government will also lay out emergency legislation, which is expected to include powers for police to detain people to stop them spreading the virus and allowing hospitals to send patients home to free up beds.

Under the latest government advice, anyone living in a household with somebody who has the symptoms of a persistent cough or fever is being told to isolate themselves for 14 days.

Special guidance will be issued by the NHS for the 1.4million people most at risk from the disease - including the elderly with underlying health conditions - on further measures they need to take to “shield” themselves.

MORE: Coronavirus cases in UK increase by 171Mr Johnson has also held a conference call with manufacturing firms and organisations urging them to step up production of ventilators and other vital medical equipment.