Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
16 December 2020
A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.
- According to Government statistics, the number of new confirmed cases of Coronavirus yesterday was 18,450. 506 people sadly lost their lives due to virus.
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reported to have rejected calls to toughen up coronavirus restrictions over the Christmas period. Over Christmas, the relaxation of the rule to allow bubbles of up to three households to meet indoors between December 23 and 27 is now expected to stay in place.
- Politico reports that the Government’s reasoning for not enforcing stricter rules is that it would not have been right to change the rules for Christmas so soon after setting them out, and with so little time until they were due to come into effect. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will reportedly not enforce tougher rules in Scotland over the Christmas period for the same reason.
- In an interview with Sky News last night, Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer called for a review of the relaxation. “The only responsible thing to do is look again at the Christmas restrictions,” he said.
- According to the Guardian, Michael Gove’s call with the devolved leaders to establish a UK-wide approach to Christmas restrictions broke up without coming to an agreed conclusion.
- Later today, the “COVID O” Committee will meet to review the tier allocations across the country. Announcements on new tier allocations will come tomorrow. It’s expected that most of the movements will be regions going from Tier 2 to Tier 3.
- All of London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire have now moved into Tier 3 of Covid restrictions as of 00.01am this morning. The Health Secretary yesterday warned of “very sharp, exponential rises” across the region, and explained that the decision had been taken early, before today’s planned review.
- Northern Irish Health Minister Robin Swann has announced he will bring new proposals about Covid restrictions to Thursday’s executive meeting. This comes in response to reports that pressure on hospitals to manage the number of patients with Covid has seen ambulance queues ‘at all NI emergency departments’.
- Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said yesterday that a lockdown could be introduced after Christmas if rates in Wales did not fall. This comes following reports that Wales’ current case rates and rate of positive tests already exceed indicators that would be considered.
- White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has said that US President Donald Trump will ‘absolutely’ encourage Americans to take the Covid vaccine, and will receive a vaccine himself as soon as his medical team determines its best.
- The EU has brought forward its ruling on the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine after Germany made it clear it wanted approval before Christmas. The European Medicines Agency will now meet on December 21st to decide whether to authorise the vaccine.
- The World Health Organisation has announced a research mission to China next month to investigate how the novel coronavirus jumped from animals to humans, and whether it emerged earlier or in a different place than originally thought.
- According to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, nearly one in four people may not get Covid-19 vaccines until at least 2022. This is because wealthy countries with less than 15 per cent of the global population have reserved 51 per cent of the doses of the most promising vaccines.
- Politico reports that although Covid restrictions will not change over Christmas, new guidance could be published as soon as today with much tougher recommendations. New guidance is expected to urge people planning to meet their families in seven days’ time to effectively isolate beforehand, re-consider visiting elderly relatives, and travel as little as possible.