A rise in motor vehicles on the road and a plea to local authorities – including the Isle of Wight Council – to pay out money to businesses “as quickly as possible”, were among the topics of today’s (Wednesday’s) Government briefing.

Addressing the nation, Business Secretary Alok Sharma confirmed that financial help for UK businesses is now available.

He told local authority’s across the UK to help them financially sooner rather than later.

Mr Sharma says the Government has provided £22 billion in the form of business rates relief and grants of up to £25,000.

He told the media:

“I want to convey my heartfelt thanks to businesses which are working to keep our economy going so that when this crisis passes – and it will – we will bounce back. From today businesses will benefit from 22 billion pounds from business rates relief. On Saturday, I said we had provided grants to councils of more than 12 billion pounds.”

If you think your business qualifies for a grant payment, you can fill out a form to help the Isle of Wight Council process your application. 

Also speaking during the conference was Public Health England’s Medical Director Yvonne Doyle.

She confirmed that there had been “an uptake in motor vehicles on the road” across Britain, despite the Government’s warning to stay home and protect the NHS.

There has been another big jump in the number of people who have died in the UK after testing positive for COVID-19.

Another 563 deaths have been confirmed in the past 24 hours – bringing the total to 2,352.

On the Island, that figure currently stands at two – with 13 cases confirmed by Public Health England.

On the Isle of Wight today

The Island’s three ferry firms have made the decision to reduce their services, following a fall in passenger numbers, as previously reported by Isle of Wight Radio.

Meanwhile, police on the Isle of Wight have hit out at members of the public for going out to buy bags of compost and plants, saying is not essential. However, the spokesperson for the Isle of Wight Green Party disagrees. Read more here. 

And, the Isle of Wight Council says it is temporarily suspending parking charges across the Island – although Esplanades are not included.

All of the Isle of Wight’s latest coronavirus news can be found in one place, here.