Prolonged effects of the coronavirus lockdown are taking a heavy toll on multiple industries across the United Kingdom, with hospitality, construction and education being among the worst hit sectors. As both the number of Covid-19 related deaths and the millions of pounds lost amidst the halted economy begin to rise higher with each passing day, the UK is in need of an exit strategy that can mitigate both. Below we discuss the impact and possible options.
British Education Segment Could be Facing a Reduction of 90% in Output
The United Kingdom has long been one of the most profound nations across the globe for pursuing higher education. A large percentage of the world’s most revered, top universities such as the University of Oxford, Leeds University and Nottingham Trent University among others, are located in the UK. Unfortunately, even the most respected British educational institutes are not going to be spared from losses incurred on account of the necessary lockdown. In fact, in accordance with an official report presented by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the entire education sector is set to suffer a -90% decrease in its output this quarter (Q2).
Loss of Foreign Students Outside the EU Zone will Cost the UK £6.9 Billion
As students from China, India and various other non-European nations had to cancel their enrolment options this spring, it has been estimated that the total loss in output will amount to £6.9 billion between April and June (Q2). Huge as the losses are, more British students will get the opportunity to study in one of the top universities on account of those empty seats. British nationals can browse the list at universitycompare.com to find out which ones are the top universities in the UK right now, and which ones are still accepting applications in multiple departments. Although the impact on the British education sector economy has been hard this year so far, more British students can use this gap to pursue higher education in some of their own top universities.
Hospitality Could Lose 85% in its Total Output this Quarter
The entire hospitality business, which includes restaurants, bars, nightclubs, cafés, diners, hotels, resorts, etc. are predicted to lose over 85% of their revenue this quarter. Although on paper that looks comparatively better than how hard education has been hit, the situation could be even worse for hospitality in the long term.
Unlike schools, colleges and universities, the effects of the novel coronavirus epidemic will continue to affect food and lodging for the foreseeable future. The loss of foreign tourism in the UK will further contribute to the industry’s dismal condition for quite some time. Classes will either resume in small numbers, or they will be conducted over the internet, but travelling and socialising are both going to have a lot of catching up to do in 2021/22. As for now, closing off the Furlough Scheme in July could see millions lose their jobs in hospitality.
An Exit Strategy Could be in Development: The Two-Tier Approach
According to a recent report, the UK could be devising a two-tier strategy to slowly exit out of the lockdown. The two tiers are called Segmenting and Shielding, which are to be implemented based on a citizen’s vulnerability to the Covid-19 virus.
Also described as the Risk Group strategy, multiple risk groups are to be created within the national population, based on the following criteria:
- Medical history
- Healthcare and medicinal needs
- Fitness level
Young and healthy adults, as well as older children without any health complications will be getting the most freedom if the two-tier strategy is indeed adopted by the UK government. At the same time, older adults, seniors and vulnerable individuals of all age who are diagnosed with conditions that make them particularly susceptible to the virus’s deadly effects will not be allowed the same freedom, in order to save their own lives and that of others around them.
In addition to restricting the at-risk groups, non-risk individuals with at-risk family members will also have to practice similar restrictive cautions in order to shield the at-risk individuals near them. Naturally, this will apply to healthcare professionals in particular, irrespective of their non-risk/at-risk status as an individual.
Education needs government funding desperately right now, and the entire economy needs the lockdown to be lifted as soon as possible. The Risk Group strategy could allow that to happen, albeit with plenty of restrictive measures in place to prevent an even higher rate of infection. It remains to be seen whether the government does indeed adopt it with any rate of success. Nevertheless, the world’s biggest hopes now lie in the fast development of a vaccine, which is expected to be ready by the end of 2020.