Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
23 December 2020
A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.
- A further 36,804 Covid cases were confirmed yesterday – a daily record since mass testing began in the summer. Sadly, 691 people lost their lives from the virus yesterday.
- France has re-opened their border to people travelling from the UK, with British nationals, French citizens and hauliers able to travel into France if they have had a recent negative test. The army is being deployed to help carry out rapid tests on the stranded freight drivers. It is estimated around 4,000 lorry drivers were stuck in Kent yesterday.
- There were reports the government held a “gold command” meeting of ministers and officials yesterday to discuss imposing tier four curbs to more parts of England from Boxing Day.
- The government have halted their plans to open rapid-turnaround coronavirus test centres across England over Christmas amid concerns from public health experts about the accuracy of Lateral Flow tests. Government figures from the mass testing programme in Liverpool revealed earlier this month that the tests missed 30% of cases with a high viral load and half of positive cases that were detected by standard coronavirus tests.
- Former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has called for the Government to consider giving people a single shot of the two-dose vaccine in order to give some immunity to as many people as possible . He told BBCR4 Today that the Government should also give more flexibility to GPs and pharmacies in how they deliver this.
- First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has apologised for breaching Covid rules by taking her face mask off at a wake. The Scottish Sun published a photograph of her standing talking to three people indoors at a social distance, but with her face uncovered. In a statement released to the BBC, the first minister said it was “a stupid mistake. I was in the wrong, I’m kicking myself, and I’m sorry”.
- The army have been drafted in by the Welsh Ambulance Service to help it deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
- Outgoing US President, Donald Trump, has argued, via video, that the $900bn (£670bn) coronavirus relief bill was “really is a disgrace”, full of “wasteful” items.
- South Korea reported 1,092 new coronavirus cases as of Tuesday midnight, the second highest since the start of the pandemic, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.
- South Africa is struggling to contain a second wave of Covid-19 infections which appears to be driven by a new and more infectious variant of the disease, similar to that in the UK.
- Labour leader Keir Starmer today calls on the Government to act immediately should SAGE recommend tougher restrictions in the coming days and weeks. In a letter to the Prime Minister, Starmer says that any SAGE recommendation on restrictions should be published without delay and accompanied by a plan for rolling out vaccines “as quickly as possible.”
- Responding to the recommendation from the European Commission that essential travel between the UK and EU should resume, Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, the industry association representing UK-registered carriers, said: “We note the Commission’s guidance but clearly this now needs to be enacted by EU member states, who have so far put in place their own rules. It remains to be seen what action they will take but our position remains that testing rather than flight bans is the only way to facilitate travel and get the economy and aviation moving again.”
- Responding to the publication of supplementary guidance for schools on the phased reopening of schools in January by the Scottish Government, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT -The Teachers’ Union , said: “The new variant of Covid has escalated the risks to pupils and teachers considerably and the First Minister and Deputy First Minister must keep under constant review whether it will be safe to reopen schools in January in the timeframe and manner currently planned by the Scottish Government .Ministers must be guided by the medical and scientific evidence, with the priority the safety, health and welfare of children, young people and school staff . A highly cautious and preventative approach must be adopted in order to protect health and welfare.