Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
11 February 2021
A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.
- The coronavirus variant first found in Kent could become the world’s dominant strain, the head of the UK’s genetic surveillance programme has predicted. Professor Sharon Peacock told the BBC ‘s Newscast podcast the new variant has “swept the country” and “it’s going to sweep the world, in all probability”.
- The government’s proposed 10-year prison sentences for those found to be lying about their travel have come under fire, with opposition leader Keir Starmer calling it an “empty threat” and telling ministers to stop “pretending” judges would ever jail anyone for that long.
- Elsewhere, Priti Patel has told Facebook, Twitter and Google that they have a social responsibility to remove false anti- vaccination posts. The home secretary said that social media companies were to blame for the lower uptake of coronavirus vaccines among ethnic minorities compared with the general population. She also called on them to proactively publicise NHS and government information on their sites to counter antivaxxers.
- The World Health Organization yesterday approved the use of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine for all adults, and recommended the British approach of a 12-week gap between doses.
- More than one million people have received their first dose of the Covid vaccine in Scotland. The Scottish government said the milestone was reached on Wednesday and the vaccination programme was now moving “at pace”. The rollout remains the slowest of the four nations of the UK, but opposition parties have welcomed the increased efficiency.
- Similarly, Wales has become the first UK nation to vaccinate more than 20 percent of its population from Covid, according to First Minister Mark Drakeford.
- NI must “tread carefully” when it comes to easing the coronavirus lockdown and some restrictions may remain in place long term, Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann has said. Swann said that despite progress with vaccinations, “serious uncertainties” remained about the future.
- Italy is reopening its ski resorts in Lombardy, the region worst hit by the coronavirus. Lifts will resume operating from 15 February, which will mark the return of skiing for the first time this year.
- Germany will remain in a partial lockdown until at least 7 March. Following crunch talks with the leaders of Germany ‘s 16 states, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the number of new Covid-19 infections in Europe ‘s top economy was dropping after more than two months of shuttered schools and shops.
- The US could have averted 40 percent of the deaths from Covid-19, had the country’s death rates corresponded with the rates in other high-income G7 countries, according to a Lancet commission tasked with assessing Donald Trump’s health policy record. Almost 470,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus so far, with the number widely expected to go above half a million in the next few weeks. At the same time some 27 million people in the US have been infected. Both figures are by far the highest in the world.
- Britain should “take the pain ” of longer restrictions to reduce the risk of mutations needing repeated lockdowns, government scientific advisers have said