Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
4 November 2020
A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.
- Yesterday saw another 20,018 new cases of Covid-19, and sadly 397 deaths.
- MPs are voting today on the regulations imposing the second lockdown. The new restrictions will come into force tonight at midnight. The debate will start after PMQs and the vote is expected around 4pm.
- England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty said that “economically and socially destructive” lockdowns are the only practical option until a Covid vaccine and better drugs are available. He said the Great Barrington Declaration arguments were “scientifically weak” and “dangerously flawed”.
- Sir Patrick Vallance told the science and technology committee that the worst case scenario data presented at the weekend did not include all data on the tiered system.
- Liverpool will be the first city to conduct two-week mass testing, starting this Friday. If successful, this could be rolled out to “millions” by Christmas, the government said. FT reports that scientists have raised concerns over the accuracy of some of the lateral flow tests being used.
- MPs can now have a proxy vote in the Commons if they’re on parliamentary estate and participate in an urgent question or statement on the same day.
- Penny Mordaunt, the paymaster general, told MPs on Tuesday that there could yet be a rolling series of lockdowns, the Guardian reports.
- ONS data released yesterday shows that more than 2m UK employees earned less than the statutory minimum wage in April, because the lowest paid were the most likely to be furloughed.
- Groups of four from different households will be allowed to meet indoors at pubs, restaurants and cafes in Wales from 9 November, when the fire break lockdown ends; non-essential businesses and schools reopen.
- Northern Ireland leaders have called for “breathing space” as data shows that hospitals are operating close to capacity, with 96 per cent of all hospital beds occupied.
- The Times reports that the chancellor is being “bounced” by the PM into guaranteeing furlough cash for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland after England’s lockdown ends. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, welcomed the news, but added that she had not received any detail on this.
- France’s daily death toll rose by 854 on Tuesday, the highest since 15 April.
- The Dutch PM, Mark Rutte, has ordered new lockdown measures and is considering curfews and school closures.
- The Italian government is considering tighter restrictions but is holding back from a nationwide lockdown.
- A study from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Oxford University found that adults living with children are not at greater risk of transmission.
- Independent high street firms fared better in the pandemic than chains, according to research by the Local Data Company (LDC) and accountancy firm PwC.
- Council leaders have criticised the government after it emerged they will get just £14 per head to support clinically vulnerable residents advised to stay at home, Politics Home reports.
- Non-essential retail are lobbying the Government to stay open. Craig Beaumont from the Federation of Small Businesses told Politico: “SAGE concludes that the closure of non-essential retail has ‘very minimal’ impact on R values, and [shutting] hairdressers would see a reduction of ‘up to 0.05.’
- Former Tory Chief Whip Mark Harper said he would vote against the second lockdown, arguing that the Government had not made the case for a change away from the tiered system and in favour of an England-wide national lockdown.
- GPs are being put on standby to start vaccinating over-85s and frontline health workers from the beginning of December, Pulse reports; two vaccine candidates that are currently in late-stage clinical trials and could be sending clinical data to regulators within weeks.
- FT reports that the UK government has held talks with US data analytics company Palantir about using its Foundry software to manage sensitive contact tracing data; the company has attracted criticism from civil liberties groups over its work with the US immigration service and close links to national security agencies.