Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.
Saturday 16 May
- Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson delivered the daily press conference. He stated that as of 9am on the 16 May:
- 2,489,563 tests, with 136,486 tests on 15 May.
- 1,742,028 people have been tested of which 240,161 tested positive.
- As of 5pm on 15 May, of those tested positive for coronavirus, across all settings, 34,466 have died.
- He stressed that the Government would only open schools when their five tests were met, but also emphasised that children needed to be in school.
- He stated he hoped some children could return as early as next month, as long as infection rates are decreasing.
- Reception, year 1 and year 6 will be allowed to return with smaller class sizes, along with students in years 10 and 12 on a limited basis to have face-to-face time with their teachers. These children will be prioritised as they are viewed as having more to lose by missing school.
- He stated that class sizes would be kept small, with a “protective, small bubble” around children.
- Schools should continue to be strict on hygiene and hand washing.
- Williamson said that school staff can be tested for the virus now, and said that from 1 June this would be extended to cover school children and their families if any of them develop symptoms.
Sunday 17 May
- Business Secretary Alok Sharma delivered the daily press conference. He states that:
- 91,206 tests were carried out on 16 May. 3,142 new recorded cases
- 10,035 people are in hospital with Covid-19, down 15%, from 11,817, this time last week
- 34,636 have died after contracting Covid-19, an increase of 170 deaths since yesterday.
- Due to a technical error these figures do not include Northern Ireland, Sharma confirmed.
- Sharma reiterated the Government’s current strategy, and measures. He said people should be wearing face coverings in confined spaces, as much as possible.
- Sharma said that the first clinical trial of the “Oxford vaccine” is progressing well, and said that “all phase one participants receiving their vaccine dose on schedule earlier this week.”
- He stressed that the Govt had already invested £47m in the Oxford University and Imperial College London vaccine trials but was today announcing a further £84m funding to help accelerate the work and enable phase 3 of the trial. He said this funding would also be used to start mass producing the vaccine if the trials prove successful.
- Sharma also confirmed that Oxford University had agreed a global licensing agreement with AstraZeneca. This would make 30 million vaccine doses available to the UK by September if the trials are successful, and the UK will be the first to get access.
- Sharma also announced Govt funding of £93m in the Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Oxfordshire, aiming for it to open in summer 2021. He stated that six drugs for treating the virus are now at clinical trials.
- Health Secretary Matt Hancock will give an update on the Government’s track and trace programme today, with details of a wider roll out expected. The Government are confident they will have 18,000 contact-tracers in place by the end of this week.
- The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill will have its second reading in the Commons today. The Bill aims to introduce a new points-based immigration system after the transition period, but it has attracted criticism from the opposition for its labelling of many workers as “unskilled.” The Bill does not actually specify what the points-based system will be, but it does give Ministers the power to decide it before Parliament formally approves.
- Transport operators will implement new measures today to try and safeguard passengers and staff as people begin to return to work. Security guards with crowd management training will be deployed, and train operators may begin limiting numbers boarding. Advance ticket purchasing is also being considered across further inter-city rail networks.
- Scotland will begin their trials of contact tracing system today, beginning in NHS Fife, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Highland.
- Northern Ireland’s health minister has stated that testing will be made available to all care home staff and residents by next month.
- Police in Wales said they had to fine people over the weekend for travelling from England to Wales for exercise. North Wales Police said they had turned around tourists from Manchester, Norwich and London as they tried to visit parts of Snowdonia.
- Global infections have now passed 4.7 million. There are 4,716,513 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide. At least 315,187 people have died.
- The UN has called for more to be done to help Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, as hundreds were stranded on flood prone islands. There is also significant fear about the impact of a coronavirus outbreak in the camps.
- Japan has entered into a recession, as their economy contracted by 0.9 percent in the first quarter.
- Spain recorded its lowest single-day death toll in two months on Sunday and Italy recorded its lowest daily toll since the lockdown was declared.
- The Mayor of São Paulo in Brazil has stated that hospitals in the city have reached 90 percent capacity and are “near collapse”. The comments come after President Bolsonaro has said that people must “get back to normal”. He has repeatedly dismissed reports about the severity of the virus, saying: “With my history as an athlete, if I were infected with the virus, I would have no reason to worry. I would feel nothing, or it would be at most just a little flu,”
- Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, has accused the Home Secretary of “rank hypocrisy”, labelling the Government’s plan to rush through immigration legislation an insult to NHS staff and care workers, and a danger to our National Health Service.
- Money Saving Expert has announced it will be producing “a full, detailed report of travel firm behaviour, with both the ratings and people’s experiences, and sending the findings to the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, as well as the Competition and Markets Authority.”
- New analysis by The Children’s Society, Barnardo’s, Action for Children, NSPCC and the National Children’s Bureau show that over the last decade local authority budgets “have been so squeezed that councils can only afford to get involved when children have reached crisis point and need costly interventions, like being taken into care.” They warn that children and families, ‘hidden’ from the view of professionals during the lockdown, could slip through the cracks, doomed to reach crisis point before any help is provided.