Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
6 January 2021
A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.
- Today, MPs will vote on the government’s new lockdown, following Monday’s national address and yesterday’s press conference. The Prime Minister and Gavin Williamson, Education Secretary, will first give statements to the House, followed by the debate at 2.15pm – it is expected the vote will be at 7pm.
- The Prime Minister outlined the severity of situation last night, stating that on average, 1 in 50 have the virus across England (in the capital, this number is 1 in 30). This equates to 1.1 million people.
- Johnson also outlined the vaccine timetable last night, providing further details of the government and the NHS’ aim to vaccinate the top 4 priority groups by February 15th. This would be over 13 million of the most vulnerable people. According to the Mail however, Hancock yesterday told MPs on another Zoom call that the mid-February target was a “best-case scenario ” and that things could delay, with MPs fearing that once again, the government would miss this target. To add to this, the Telegraph are reporting that leaked documents highlight that Public Health England won’t work to vaccinate on Sundays.
- Following the Chancellor’s small cameo yesterday, where he announced £4.6bn in financial support to struggling businesses, the FT are reporting it won’t be enough to stop thousands going under. This comes as Anneliese Dodds, Shadow Chancellor, has made it clear the Chancellor’s failure to address Parliament and the public on the issue is unacceptable.
- Johnson also noted in yesterday’s press conference that the UK would be looking at requiring travellers to the UK from abroad to prove they have had a negative coronavirus test before entering.
- Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has said Scotland will hope to vaccinate everyone over the age of 50 and younger people with underlying health conditions by the start of May. If the target is achieved, it would mean 2.7 million people – about half of the population – will have had the jab. Sturgeon added that the timetable was a “cautious prediction” however.
- Much alike the rest of the country, Welsh University students are calling for clarity on what the new lockdown means for them after they were told not to return to campuses until mid-February. BBC Wales has reported that the education minister met universities on Tuesday but no decision was made.
- WHO investigators were denied entry to China to investigate the outbreak in Wuhan. The Chinese government has said the decision to deny the team entry is “not just limited to a visa issue but to the dates and some other details”. The BBC are reporting that a spokesperson has added that China supports international co-operation and talks are continuing over “the specific date and specific arrangement of the expert group’s visit”.
- The US had a record number of coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, recording almost 4,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.
- The Netherlands is set to begin offering coronavirus jabs today – but is the last country in the EU to start vaccinations.
- The Royal College of Nursing has called for an urgent response from the government after raising concerns about the need for increased levels of personal protective equipment (PPE) for those treating people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: “Without delay, they must state whether existing PPE guidance is adequate for the new variant. While more research is carried out, we ask for the precautionary principle to be applied and staff to be given a higher level of PPE if working with suspected or confirmed cases. The government must initiate a review of the effectiveness of ventilation in health and care buildings too.”
- The Opposition have called for BTEC exams to be cancelled, after further education was omitted from the Prime Minister’s National Address to the nation. Toby Perkins MP, Shadow Minister for Apprenticeships and Lifelong Learning, said: “BTEC exams simply cannot go ahead safely and fairly this week. The government must cancel them and work with schools and colleges to develop a genuinely fair alternative for pupils this summer. When the Prime Minister announced the cancellation of summer GCSE and A-level exams, he did not even mention BTEC students taking exams this week.”