U.K. Shields Its Economy From the Virus, but Not Yet Its People
Britain moved decisively on Wednesday to cushion its economy from the ravages of the coronavirus, as it prepared to toughen a more cautious medical response that had come under fire, particularly after a health minister who had mingled at a reception with Prime Minister Boris Johnson fell ill from the contagion.
Parliament heard Mr. Johnson’s emergency plan to head off an economic crash from what the World Health Organization on Wednesday officially described as a pandemic: 30 billion pounds, or $38 billion, in one-time spending in the budget for the overburdened National Health Service and a variety of extra benefits for firms and people forced out of work because of the virus.
As the total number of confirmed cases in Britain rose to nearly 500, the country’s aggressive economic rescue plan has contrasted starkly with its public-health response to the epidemic.
The government has held off on social distancing measures, which the authorities in Italy, France, Germany and other countries have adopted. But those could come soon to Britain if the crisis committee decides, as expected, that its strategy is no longer to contain the virus but to delay its spread.
1.shield UK /ʃiːld/ US /ʃiːld/ vt. if you shield sth or sb, you protect that thing or that person Sunglasses can shield your eyes from the sun.
2.decisively UK /dɪˈsaɪsɪvli/ US /dɪˈsaɪsɪvli/ adv. quickly, effectively, confidently The company moved decisively to fix the problem.
We will need to act decisively to avoid the financial crisis.
3.cushion cushion vt. if you cushion sth, you protect it from sth dangerous
4.the ravages of sth the damage caused by that thing The building was not affected by the ravages of the earthquake.
Many people have been affected by the ravages of the war.
5.medical response medical plan
6.toughen UK /ˈtʌfən/ US /ˈtʌfən/ vt. if you toughen sth, you make sth or sb tougher, strong or stronger The government wants to toughen the existing traffic laws.
7.cautious UK /ˈkɔːʃəs/ US /ˈkɑːʃəs/ adj. if sth is cautious, it’s too careful, too soft
8.mingle at if you mingle at a party or an event, you move around talking to many other people
9.one-time spending give all the money at one time
10.contrast starkly if one thing contrasts starkly with another, it’s very different His exam results contrasted starkly with his expectations.