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UK policies were the focal point this week, while the usual suspects Novavax, AstraZeneca and Abbott again updated the market on their progress.

Back to work campaign

The working week ended with fiery debates on whether workers should be encouraged to go back to the offices since many people are concerned of being infected.

England is set to start a campaign next week, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland continue to promote working from home practices.

Senior Tory MPs have pressured Boris Johnson to give a clear message that it will be safe to do so with several businesses being concerned of the prospects of city centres.

Health secretary Matt Hancock instead flagged he cares more about how his cabinet employees are performing than where they are working.

Paid quarantine

Meanwhile, people on low incomes in areas with high rates of COVID-19 could be paid if they need to self-isolate and cant work from home.

Eligible people who test positive with the virus will receive £130 for ten days of self-isolation, while other members of their household, who have to self-isolate for 14 days, will be entitled to a payment of £182.

Non-household contacts advised to self-isolate through NHS Test and Trace will also be entitled to a payment of up to £182, tailored to the individual length of their isolation period.

The programme will be trialled in Blackburn on September 1.

More job cuts

There were further job cuts this week with food-to-go chain Pret A Manger slashing 3,000 roles, Gatwick Airport 600 and Mini's Plant Oxford another 400.

Energy giant Equinor is planning to chop 20% of roles in each country where it operates. In the UK, most roles are in Aberdeen, which has already been battered by previous oil crisis.

The Gambling Commission has also proposed redundancies as it aims to save £1mln, despite criticism it does not have enough funds to regulate the industry properly.

Novavax is optimistic

Novavax Inc (NASDAQ:NVAX) is reportedly expecting to submit its COVID-19 vaccine candidate before US authorities in December.

Chief executive Stanley Erck told Czech paper Hospodarske Noviny that it plans to produce some of the jabs in its Czech plant, so the country will be able to access it if it is approved.

On Monday the biotech enrolled the first volunteer for the Phase II of clinical trials in late August, expanding on Phase I by including older adults 60-84 years of age, with data expected in the fourth quarter.

Oxford too

The vaccine for COVID-19 being developed by Oxford University could be submitted to regulators as early as this year, a professor said.

“It is also just possible that if the cases accrue rapidly in the clinical trials that we could have that data to put before regulators this year, and then there would be a process that they go through in order to make a full assessment of the data,” Professor Andrew Pollard told the BBC.

But the priority is to “demonstrate a vaccine works and is safe, and then to go through the processes of regulators looking at that very carefully to make sure everything's been done correctly.”

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