By Powerscourt on 07/02/2021

Powerscourt Coronavirus Briefing – 07 February 2021


The Sunday Times reports today on a government plan for a big tax raid on the online giants that have seen massive profits during the pandemic.

Proposals for a one-off “excessive profits tax” are apparently being drawn up and will be applicable to large e-commerce companies, who have all thrived during the crisis like Amazon, ASOS, Deliveroo as well as essential retailers that remained open. Amazon’s sales were up 51% last year to £19.4bn as people isolated themselves at home and ordered baking equipment, books and workout clothes online to fill the void of never leaving the house.

Leaked Treasury official emails also reportedly reveal the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has summoned various UK business leaders to consider the “risk and benefits” of an online sales tax. The treasury has asked them to think about the potential impact on customers as well as the macroeconomy and report back at a meeting later this month. The tax from big online companies would partially contribute to saving the currently closed high street.

With Sunak’s budget due in less than a month, however, it is unlikely these plans will be included, and we can expect to see them closer to Autumn.

Yesterday there were 825 new deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test recorded, leaving the current UK death toll at 112,092. To date, figures show 11.5 million people have received at least the first dose of a vaccine.

The Sunday Telegraph reports on new plans being discussed that could see nearly 30 million younger adults receive their Covid-19 jabs once vaccinations have been offered to elderly and vulnerable people, under “jabs at work” programme. Under the proposal, vaccination teams would go to places of work to speed up the rollout.

After last weekend’s debacle of the EU Commission trying to control the vaccines going through the Northern Ireland/Republic border, AstraZeneca is now delivering its promised vaccines into the bloc.

Hopefully putting an end to a very public row, vaccines are now firmly in the hands of France, Germany, Ireland, Spain and Austria with other countries receiving them this week.

Despite the interrupted start to their vaccination programme, the EU has not amended its target to have 70% of the population immunised by the end of summer. The Pfizer and Moderna shots have begun being administered in the EU but AstraZeneca is crucial to meet the target.

As of yesterday, the EU’s daily vaccination rate was 631,901 compared to the UK’s 445,128. More than 128 million doses have been administered worldwide. 





The online travel agent has failed to keep its promise to refund people for Covid-hit holidays. In December, it agreed to pay all outstanding package holiday refunds by the end of January but consumer group Which? said several customers still hadn’t received a full refund after the deadline had passed. Which? has called on the Competition and Markets Authority to uncover how many customers were not refunded in time and take appropriate action. Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel said “The CMA must send a clear message that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable.”



It’s official – delaying second dose of Covid vaccine saves lives – The Times

Oxford/AstraZeneca jab fails to protect against mild and moderate covid from A African strain, study shows – Financial Times

Million of people under 50 to get Covid vaccine at work from Spring – The Daily Telegraph