Madrid Desk, Sep 24 (efe-epa).- Coronavirus infection rates continued to soar across Europe Thursday, with the United Kingdom reporting its highest-ever number of new cases as the Czech Republic, which has the second-highest incidence rate in the European Union, tightened restrictions.
Meanwhile, protesters took to the streets of the Greek capital as part of a 24-hour strike to call for more resources to fight the pandemic and looming restrictions in France are poised to divide opinion.
The UK recorded its highest-ever daily total of coronavirus figures with 6,634 new cases, health authorities said. There were 40 related deaths in the same period.
The data comes just as officials in the UK enforced tighter restrictions on social life, such as capping the number of people in a gathering to six and ordering pubs and restaurants to close by 10pm.
UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak on Thursday unveiled the government’s new job protection program which is to replace the furlough scheme first announced at the end of March.
Under the new scheme, which is to come into effect for six months from November, the government will pay up to third of an employee’s wages as a way to stop mass redundancies.
To qualify, an employee must work at least a third of their normal hours, which will be paid as normal by the company, while the government and the company will top-up the salary for hours not worked.
Under the original furlough scheme, the government paid up to 80 percent of the salaries for people unable to work due to the lockdown.
The new grant system will be capped at 697 pounds ($888) a month.