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UK govt’s ‘Eat out to help out’ policy closely linked to Covid-19 second wave: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 31, 2020 Published on October 31, 2020

Under the scheme, the UK govt offered diners 50 per cent discount of up to ₤10 ($13.03), says The Guardian

According to a new study, the United Kingdom’s policy of ‘Eat out to help out’ discount scheme during summers to help cafes and restaurants may have contributed to the spread of the coronavirus and the second wave of infection.

The scheme involved government-funded discounts on food and non-alcoholic drinks at restaurants from Monday to Wednesday in August. The UK administration offered diners a 50 per cent discount of up to ₤10 ($13.03), the Guardian reported.

The study carried by Thiemo Fetzer, an economist at the University of Warwick, suggested that the scheme was closely associated with an increase in cases over the summer.

The study speculated that around 8-17 per cent of newly-detected infection clusters could be closely linked to the new cases of infection.

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The authors noted that areas, especially those that recorded a high uptake of the scheme, witnessed an increase in new infections after a week of the implementation.

The researchers also added that the same areas witnessed a fall in the rate of infection after the offer expired.

Fetzer said, as cited in media reports: “The ‘Eat out to help out’ scheme, hailed as an economic cure for the ailing sector, may have substantially worsened the disease.”

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Earlier in October, Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended the scheme stating that it helped in the protection as well as creation of millions of jobs in the hospitality industry. He, however, also agreed that it may have pushed the infection rate, as per previous reports.

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Published on October 31, 2020
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