Covid-19 Daily Bulletin

18 December 2020

A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.

Key Announcements:

  • There were 35,383 new cases of and 532 deaths from coronavirus yesterday.
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced a number of areas will move into tier three from Saturday: all of Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Peterborough, Portsmouth, Gosport, Havant, Hastings and Rother, and Surrey, except Waverley.
  • The Chancellor has extended UK furlough scheme by one month, to the end of April and the government guaranteed business loans to the end of March.
  • New data shows English hospital beds are 89 percent full – above target but emptier than last year.
  • Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced the return of secondary school pupils in England next term will be staggered to give schools time to set up Covid testing scheme.
  • The transport secretary said that the UK’s safe travel list will now be unchanged except for any “emergency removals” ; the next regular update will be on 7 January 2021.
  • The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has advised that patients in hospital with coronavirus should be offered a follow-up six week later to check for “long Covid” symptoms; The NHS has opened 69 specialist clinics across England to offer rehabilitation, BBC reports.


  • Public Health Wales (PHW) said planned IT maintenance meant there was a “significant under-reporting” but anyone who tested positive had been contacted in the usual way.
  • Northern Ireland will enter a six-week lockdown starting with Boxing Day, closing everything but schools and essential shops.
  • The Welsh Local Government Association has said that children will return to school on a staggered basis after the Christmas break, with a full return to the classroom expected by 18 January.


  • A host of European leaders are self-isolating after the French President, Emmanuel Macron, tested positive for Covid-19.
  • The EU has announced its vaccination programme will begin on 27 December.
  • Canada has ordered around 414 million doses for the country’s 38 million citizens, more vaccine per capita than any other country in the world, according to a Reuters analysis.
  • Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf has said that the country’s coronavirus approach ‘has failed’.


  • Manchester city council leader Sir Richard Leese said the news the city would stay in tier three was “bitterly disappointing” adding that without “a Covid-safe hospitality offer during Christmas week”, people would find other ways to socialise “which could increase the number of infections”.
  • Doctors and health officials have warned that the roll out of the vaccine could be delayed due to the software which record who’s gotten the jab failing constantly, with GP practices having been forced to collect the data by hand.
  • The Guardian reports that hospitals in England had to divert patients 44 times last week – the highest number in four years as growing numbers of hospitals in England are running short of beds. London, Leicester and Northampton hospitals are particularly hard hit.

Unconfirmed reports

  • The Times reports that Matt Hancock is considering additional curbs, including closure of non-essential shops for areas with very high infection rates, if mass testing fails to curb the tide.