Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
8 February 2021
A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.
- Over 12m people in the UK have received their first doze of the vaccine, with the government target of vaccinating 14.6m of the most vulnerable people by February 15 likely to be hit three days in advance.
- A study involving 2,000 people has shown that the AstraZeneca vaccine may be less effective against the South African variant of Covid-19. It showed that the jab offered “minimal protection” against mild and moderate disease from the South African variant. The trial also suggests it does not prevent transmission.
- Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has said that the public can have confidence in the Covid vaccines as those being used appeared to work well against dominant variants in the UK. He suggests that a third doze of a tweaked vaccine may be needed before winter to fight the variant.
- This morning, the government will announce a deal for 20 million lateral flow tests from Derby-based SureScreen Diagnostics . The tests will be deployed to the NHS, schools, care homes, universities and businesses to drive down cases.
- Irregular migrants – estimated at 1.3million people in the UK — will be granted an ‘amnesty’ to come forward for Covid jabs . This means they will be able to register with GPs without fear of action by the Home Office.
- Zahari ruled out introducing vaccine passports to allow travel abroad, calling the measure “discriminatory”.
- On Friday, the government announced they have entered a partnership with German biotech company CureVac to tackle new future variants of Covid-19.
- From today, Northern Ireland residents will face fines if they are caught crossing the Irish border without a “reasonable excuse”. The unprecedented step has been taken by the Irish government in a bid to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
- South Africa has responded to the study that shows AstraZeneca jab offers minimal protection to the SA variant by pausing the roll out of the vaccine.
- Poland is partially reopening cinemas, theatres and sporting venues as well as ski slopes from February 12.
- The Labour party has called on the government to “clean” how it awards outsourcing contracts for Covid work. Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves will say procurement during the pandemic has been “rife with conflicts of interest”.
- Oxford Professor of Vaccinology Sarah Gilbert has said that “efforts are underway to develop a new generation of vaccines that will allow protection to be redirected to emerging variants as booster jabs …it looks with much like it will be available for the autumn.”
- Shabir Madhi , Professor of vaccinology at the University of the Witwatersrand who has been chief investigator on a number of vaccine trials in South Africa, including the Oxford one, said it was time to rethink the goals of mass Covid vaccination. He suggests shifting the focus from the goal of herd immunity against transmission to the protection of all at-risk individuals in the population against severe disease.
- SAGE scientists have suggested the use of GPS tracking instead of hotel quarantine to ensure those coming from abroad are self-isolating. Government sources said that there were no plans to track travellers through their mobile phones, such as in Taiwan.