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'Eat Out To Help Out' Scheme Of Govt. Helped To Usher In Second Cvoid-19 Wave: New UK Study

'Eat Out To Help Out' Scheme Of Govt. Helped To Usher In Second Cvoid-19 Wave: New UK Study
A new study in the United Kingdom has revealed that the second wave of novel coronavirus in the country was contributed to by the "Eat out to help out" discount scheme initiated by the British government aimed at increasing spending at restaurants, cafes and pubs over the summer as that had helped to spread the pandemic.
Discounts of up to 50 per cent or a total of 10 pounds ($13.03) per head on meals between Mondays and Wednesdays was offered by the government for the month of August aimed at kick starting the economy and encouraging more people to expend money again after the relaxation of the lockdowns imposed during the height of the pandemic.
According to the study by the University of Warwick, anything between 8 per cent and 17 per cent of the newly detected infection clusters can be linked to that government scheme offered during that period. The study found that there was an increase in the number of new infections, after about a week after the scheme had been initiated, in those areas where there as a high response of people to the government scheme.
Further, just about a week after the discount offer finished, those very same areas witnessed a decline in new infections, the research also found.
It did not recognise the findings of the study, said Britain's finance ministry.
"Many other European counterparts have experienced an uptick in cases - irrespective of whether similar measures for the hospitality industry have been introduced," a spokesman for Treasury said.
"The Eat-Out-to-Help-out scheme, hailed as an economic cure for the ailing sector, may have substantially worsened the disease," said Thiemo Fetzer, a professor of economics who published the study.
The very real and difficult to handle challenge of balancing the act of governments between ensuring public health and economic growth during the Covid-19 pandemic was highlighted by the findings of this new research.  In August, about 100 million meals were subsidised by the British government and the impact of the scheme was so good that many restaurants and businesses continued to offer the 50 per cent discounted even after the government scheme came to a close.
The scheme as supported and defended earlier this month by the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who said that the scheme had helped in protecting millions of jobs in the hospitality industry. However he did concede that there had been some impact on infections because of the scheme.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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