Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
24 February 2021
A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.
- The UK labour market had begun to stabilise by the end of 2020, but unemployment edged up and a previous pick-up in hiring slowed as the surge in Covid-19 infections put reopening on hold.
- People could use a revamped NHS app to prove their Covid status on entering pubs or theatres in England under plans being considered by ministers, as one major care provider said staff have two months to get jabbed or lose their jobs.
- Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the policy of secondary school pupils in England having to wear masks in classrooms would be reviewed over Easter.
- Secondary schools in England will be asked to deliver face-to-face summer schools to help some pupils catch up with lessons lost to Covid. It will be up to schools to decide which pupils get the lessons – they won’t be for everyone.
- The Republic of Ireland will keep its highest level of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions until at least 5 April. The widely expected decision to maintain Level Five was taken at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, but primary schools will reopen on Monday for younger pupils.
- Scotland’s schools are expected to fully reopen in early April, with some household mixing allowed, after Nicola Sturgeon unveiled a partial route map to lifting the country’s strict Covid controls.
- Nicola Sturgeon has said “vaccine passports” would be worth considering if they could help people to get “some greater normality back“.
- AstraZeneca has told the European Union it expects to deliver less than half the Covid-19 vaccines it was contracted to supply in the second quarter, an EU official told Reuters on Tuesday. Politico provides a comparison of the UK and EU contracts with AstraZeneca which shows the EU contract “lacks teeth”.
- Ghana has become the first country in the world to receive coronavirus vaccines under the World Health Organization-backed Covax facility for low- and middle-income countries, marking the beginning of what has been called the largest vaccine procurement programme in history.
- India warned on Wednesday that a breach of guidelines on testing and other measures to contain the coronavirus could worsen a recent spurt in infections in many states, particularly after it detected several variants.
- Thailand received on Wednesday its first 200,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac, the country’s first batch of coronavirus vaccines, with inoculations set to begin in a few days, Reuters reports.
- Heathrow airport capped a disastrous year for aviation with a loss of £2bn after the pandemic pushed passenger numbers down to levels not seen since the 1970s. In the wake of the loss, the chief executive of the UK’s busiest airport called on government ministers to help the industry through the first part of this year in next week’s budget by extending furlough and providing full business rates relief.