Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
8 January 2021
A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.
- In a press conference last night, Boris Johnson reiterated that by the 15th February, everyone in the top four priority groups identified by the JCVI could expect to have received their first does of the vaccine.
- Johnson added that the NHS would be used to enable the vaccine programme. By the end of the week, this would include 1000 GP sites administering the vaccine; 223 hospital sites; seven giant vaccination centres; and a first wave of 100 community pharmacies.
- A national booking service for vaccine appointments in England will be launched to help hit ambitious targets, Boris Johnson has said, as he pledged to immunise every elderly care home resident by the end of the month.
- International travellers will need to show a negative Covid-19 test before being allowed into the UK, the government has announced, in a significant toughening of border controls to try to stem the spread the new coronavirus variant.
- The Care Quality Commission has uncovered serious weaknesses in some care homes’ defences against the pandemic, including Covid-positive carers being told to work because of staff shortages, a failure to isolate residents when they return from hospital and poor use of personal protection equipment, according to the Guardian.
- A third Covid vaccine is likely to be approved for use in Britain next week and will be available in April, the Guardian reports.
- The Telegraph is reporting that the Pfizer Inc and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine appeared to work against a key mutation in the highly transmissible new variants of the coronavirus discovered in the UK and South Africa, according to a laboratory study conducted by the US drug maker.
- The Independent is reporting that patients have turned down the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, saying they wanted to “wait for the English one” instead, according to a high-profile doctor.
- Politico is reporting that scientists conducting a study looking at two drugs typically used to treat rheumatoid arthritis — tocilizumab and sarilumab — announced Thursday they were successful in treating patients with severe coronavirus infections.
- Hospitals in London could soon be overwhelmed by Covid-19 and left short of almost 5,500 beds needed to cope with the explosion in cases, NHS leaders have revealed.
- All passengers travelling to Scotland from abroad will be required to have proof of a negative test taken a maximum of 72 hours before travel, the Scottish Government has announced.
- Scotland’s lockdown may need to be strengthened further to be effective in suppressing the more transmissible strain of Covid-19, Nicola Sturgeon has warned.
- Wales is continuing its lockdown and will be toughening up some restrictions as the nation struggles to manage the spread of the new highly infectious coronavirus variant, Sky News reports.
- Schools and colleges in Wales will stay closed to most pupils until the February half term unless there is a “significant” fall in Covid cases, BBC reports.
- More than 14,000 people had their first dose of the Covid-19 jab in Wales in the past week, the latest figures show. But Wales is lagging behind the rest of the UK so far, with a lower proportion of people getting a first dose, the BBC reports.
- According to the Guardian , Brisbane is entering a three-day lockdown after a cleaner at a quarantine hotel tested positive to a more infectious variant of Covid-19 on Thursday. The national cabinet agreed on a tranche of new measures to control the spread of Covid-19 from quarantine to the community, including mandatory tests for people travelling to Australia from overseas.
- France has said that everyone over 75 will be able to have the coronavirus vaccine from 18 January, as part of a plan to speed up vaccinations.
- France’s borders with the UK will remain closed for the foreseeable future and any French residents returning must have a negative Covid-19 test, the Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday evening.
- Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said supply agreements with Pfizer meant that all Israelis over the age of 16 would be able to be vaccinated by the end of March, or perhaps even earlier.
- The New York Times reports that, after days of record coronavirus counts and a rapidly rising death toll, Japan declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures on Thursday, the country’s first such declaration since April.
- Responding to the care homes vaccination priority, Fiona Carragher, Director of Research and Influencing at Alzheimer’s Society said: “The increasing number of coronavirus cases is deeply concerning, but the decision to stop meaningful care home visits once again will be devastating to so many. At least 70% of care home residents have dementia and contact with their loved ones means everything. It’s what they live for. Care homes have rightly been put top of the vaccination priority list – these must swiftly be rolled out to all care home residents, many of whom are still waiting for the day when they can finally properly see and hug their loved ones. The Government needs to publish the clear picture of numbers reaching care homes, starting with the first daily update on Monday. People with dementia, worst hit by the virus, have lost so much precious time with their loved ones and with their health deteriorating day by day, waiting until mid-February for a vaccine could be too late for many.”
- Responding to reports that Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said teachers have a very strong case for Covid-19 vaccine priority after the most vulnerable receive their vaccinations, Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary said: “It is to be welcomed that the Health Secretary is responding to our campaign…Vaccinating the education workforce will help to ensure the safe and sustainable resumption of school and college-based education for all pupils as quickly as possible. The Government must now give a firm commitment and say when they expect teachers and education workers will receive their vaccinations.”
- England’s largest councils have called on the government to provide urgent clarity on the local elections scheduled for May, and for a swift decision on whether they will take place in the spring.
- Following the Chancellor’s announcement for further financial measures to support employers and employees as the UK entered its third lockdown, FCSA Chief Executive Phil Pluck has written to urge the Chancellor to implement additional measures to protect contingent workers and the businesses that support them during the new lockdown
- SkySports is reporting that the British Olympic Association (BOA) and funding agency UK Sport have discussed how they may be able to secure athletes a COVID-19 vaccination by July, when the delayed Tokyo Olympics are due to begin, to save the Games from cancellation.