Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
17 June 2020
A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.
- Latest figures show that 6.9 million tests have been carried out or posted in total, with 29,8136 positive tests conducted, an increase of 1279. 41,969 people have died so far in the UK.
- Yesterday’s press conference featured some positive news in the fight against coronavirus, with the announce by U.K. scientists that a cheap and easily available drug can cut deaths among the most seriously ill COVID patients by a third. Dexamethasone is already widely used within the NHS, and it has been estimated that if we’d known its value as a treatment from the start it could already have saved 5,000 lives.
- Elsewhere, a leading surgeon has said NHS staff must be routinely tested for coronavirus up to twice a week. Professor Derek Alderson, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said it was vital, to reassure patients staff were not unwittingly carrying the virus. But hospital trust bosses say they are still waiting for clarity on plans for regular testing and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it was focusing on routine testing in care homes.
- Most headlines, however, were dominated by the Governments U-turn on providing free school meals over the summer break. The campaign, spearheaded by Manchester United and England centre forward Marcus Rashford, gained momentum online and the Government eventually bowed to pressure from the opposition, public and its own backbenchers.
- Agreements for quarantine-free “air bridges” are expected to be in place by the end of the month to allow holidaymakers to travel abroad. Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, said yesterday that the government was close to signing off on travel agreements between Britain and other countries. The Times understandsthe reciprocal deals are likely to be brokered with a small number of European countries including Greece, Portugal and Spain, rather than the whole of the EU.
- The Scotland’s schools’ inspectorate will scrutinise council plans for how many pupils can return to face-to-face teaching in August. Schools are due to re-open from 11 August with a “blended” mix of in-person teaching and at-home learning. There has been criticism that some councils will only have a third of children in school at any time.
- Thousands of letters giving updated advice on shielding have begun arriving in homes in Northern Ireland. They are for those who have been judged to be the most vulnerable to Covid-19 – in the region of 80,000 people. They received a similar letter three months ago advising them to shield for 12 weeks. The new guidance is valid until the end of June.
- In Germany, a contact-tracing app has been launched to complement the track and trace system that’s been in place since Virologists say around 60 percent of Germans would have to download the app for it to be successful.
- In an invitation letterto the upcoming conference, European Council President Charles Michel has said that EU leaders “will need to work hard in the coming days and weeks” to eventually reach a compromise for the joint corona recovery package.
- Healthcare charitieshave called for clarity amid growing confusion over government plans to end the coronavirus shielding programme in England. A report from the Health Service Journal (HSJ) cited sources “close to the issue” that said ministers were planning to tell this group they will no longer need to isolate at home from the end of July, when food and medicine deliveries for them would be ended. Caroline Abrahams, director of Age UK, said: “We know that the last change in the guidance for this group caused some confusion, as well as a degree of scepticism, so it’s beholden on the government to be very clear both in its rationale and its communications.”