Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
4 February 2021
A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.
- According to Government statistics, the number of new confirmed cases of Coronavirus yesterday was 19,202. A total of 1,322 people sadly lost their lives within 28 days of testing positive for the virus.
- 10,021,471 people have now had their first dose of the vaccine , with 498,962 having also had a second dose.
- Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, confirmed in last night’s press conference that Britain is past the peak of the current wave of the coronavirus pandemic, but warned that lockdown measures cannot yet be eased. Whitty also cautioned that the NHS would “get back into trouble extraordinarily fast” if infections were to start rising again.
- In the same press conference, Boris Johnson announced that when lockdown is lifted, all of England will move through the tier system as one rather than on the previous regional basis. Further details of the exit strategy can be expected on the 22nd of February, he added.
- The Government is backing a new clinical trial launching today that will give patients a different first and second dose of COVID vaccines, to see if difference vaccines can be mixed and still provide immunity.
- The team behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine are working on having a “second generation” vaccine that works on new strains of the virus ready by the autumn. The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said: “We can say at this stage that it is unlikely that a full new approval process will be needed.”
- Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News this morning that there are around 4,000 variants of the virus around the world now, so all vaccine manufacturers including Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca Plc are trying to improve their vaccines.
- Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland’s vaccine rollout is “working well” despite criticism. At First Minister’s Questions, Sturgeon announced 649,262 people in Scotland had been given first dose of the vaccine, with 38,484 being given out in the past 24 hours.
- Northern Irish Health Minister Robin Swann has urged people to keep following lockdown rules, in order to help give the health service “breathing space”. Rates of the disease are continuing to fall, but Northern Ireland is in a lockdown that is due to last until 5 March at the earliest.
- According to an analysis of Israel’s mass vaccination programme by the University of East Anglia, one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine gives people about 90 per cent protection from Covid by 21 days.
- Brazil is negotiating the purchase of 30m coronavirus vaccine doses from Russia and India, after regulators made it easier for the treatments to win emergency-use authorisations. The Brazilian health surveillance agency said it would no longer require final Phase 3 trials to be carried out in Brazil, clearing the way for the emergency authorisation of the vaccinations.
- German military doctors have flown into Portugal in a bid to ease pressure on the country. Medical staff will reportedly spend three weeks helping treat critically ill COVID-19 patients, after which they will be relieved by another team.
- In South Korea , Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun has ordered a revamp of social distancing guidelines in a bid to win greater public support for efforts to stop local transmission of new strains. “Rather than introduce the guidelines unilaterally, we should make the virus prevention rules along with the public,” said Chung.
- The Care Quality Commission has found that care homes in England operated by profitable chains are unsafe, with serious failures in efforts to control the spread of coronavirus in its latest wave. In the last month 40 percent of care homes inspected in England were judged to be inadequate or in need of improvement.
- Caroline Lucas, the Green party co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group Gaps in Support, has called on the Government to fix gaps in the furlough scheme for self-employed workers. “While it was understandable at the beginning of the pandemic, when the Treasury had to act fast, that some new support schemes didn’t work as well as they should, it’s a scandal that over 10 months later, so many are still falling through the gaps,” she said.