COVID-19: UK unemployment claims surge 69 per cent, hit labour market

Updated: May 20, 2020, 08:31 IST | Agencies | London

It said that "testing capacity has been inadequate for most of the pandemic so far." Committee chairman Greg Clark said nursing home residents and staff were not tested "at a time when the spread was at its most rampant."

A pedestrian walks past a shuttered restaurant with a mural that reads 'Stay Safe' on it in Glasgow. Pic/AFP
A pedestrian walks past a shuttered restaurant with a mural that reads 'Stay Safe' on it in Glasgow. Pic/AFP

UK authorities said on Tuesday that unemployment claims in Britain jumped 69 per cent in April, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and hit the labor market. The Office of National Statistics says jobless claims surged by 8,56,000 to 2.1 million in April as compared to the month before. The figures covered only the first weeks of the lockdown, said Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS.

'Virus testing failures claim'
The House of Commons' Science and Technology Committee has accused the government of failing to conduct enough tests for COVID-19, saying the lapse helped virus cut a deadly swath through the country's nursing homes. It said that "testing capacity has been inadequate for most of the pandemic so far." Committee chairman Greg Clark said nursing home residents and staff were not tested "at a time when the spread was at its most rampant."

COVID-19 existed in China in October?

Researchers tracking origin of COVID-19, which is known to have originated in December, say it may have existed in a latent phase in Wuhan since last October. "An unidentified animal contaminated by a virus initially originating from bats was brought into contact with humans in October-November, starting a latent infection," the scientists wrote in a study. One of the factors, they believe, is the co-occurrence of three major celebrations in China over a short time.

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