Covid-19 Daily Bulletin

21 January 2021

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

Key Announcements:

  • Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, said on BBC Breakfast this morning that schools would be given two weeks-notice before reopening. He was however unable to say when pupils would be returning to the classroom.
  • Although daily coronavirus cases appear to be going down in England, scientists have said that virus levels could have risen in early January. Scientists from Imperial’s React-1 infection survey have also noted that the situation was fast moving, and that the impact of lockdown might not have yet trickled through to their data.
  • A video has been obtained of Home Secretary, Priti Patel, saying back in March that she advocated for closing borders. The issue emerged yesterday during PMQs, when Labour leader Keir Starmer asked the Prime Minister why he had “overruled the Home Secretary”. Patel is also reportedly due to give a coronavirus press conference later today.


  • In Scotland, John Swinny has said that when lockdown restrictions are eased, pupils will likely have a phased reopening to schools with the youngest pupils returning first.
  • First Minister, Nichola Sturgeon, has defended Scotland’s approach to vaccinations after criticisms that only 13 per cent of over-80s had received their first Covid jab last weekend. The Scottish Government has said this was the result of deliberately focusing their efforts on vaccinating care home residents first.
  • Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, has said that despite case rates falling in Wales there would be no “significant easing” of restrictions when guidelines were reviewed later this month.
  • Welsh Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, has said that teachers would decide GCSE, AS and A-Level grades in Wales this year.
  • In Northern Ireland, healthcare union, Unison, has said it did not object to the use of military personnel being brought in to help medical staff with Covid, however they were disappointed by the lack of consultation on the matter.


  • Zimbabwe’s foreign minister, Sibusiso Mayo, has died from coronavirus after having spent time in a local hospital.
  • Frustration has been mounting in Canada, after leaders were told there would be cuts to their Pfizer vaccine delivery schedule due to continued manufacturing disruptions in Belgium.
  • A quarantine camp is being built in the outskirts of Shijiazhuang, China, which has space for 4,000 people. This comes amid a rise of infections ahead of the Lunar New Year. Officials have initiated strict lockdown and mass testing in Shijiazhuang, even moving full villages into quarantine facilities as a precautionary measure.


  • The tour operator, Saga, has said that anyone over the age of 50 would need to be vaccinated before going on one of their cruises, as way of protecting the health and safety of customers.
  • The NAHT general secretary has commented on remote learning and the disadvantage gap in schools, by saying the Government could have ameliorated growing divides by ensuring all children had equal access to technology and connectivity.
  • The Royal College of Physicians has said that more than one in four doctors have sought mental health support during the coronavirus pandemic. Professor Andrew Goddard said that workforce shortages needed to be “urgently addressed post-pandemic if we’re ever to reduce the immense pressure on NHS staff.”
  • The GMB has said that NHS frontline worker should have a 15 per cent, or £2 per hour increase to their pay, to deliver justice after decades of cuts.