28 July 2020
A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.
• As of 3:59pm on 27 July, there has been a total of 300,111 people in the UK who have tested positive for covid-19, with 685 testing positive for the virus yesterday. 45,759 have sadly died in the UK. This rose yesterday by 7.
• The Foreign Affairs Committee has published a report on the FCO’s Consular Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic . The report concluded that the Government’s repatriation operation was too slow and calls on the Government to review loans. Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat MP, said: “But while most staff excelled, our inquiry also found clear failings. For many of those Britons stranded, the advice they received from the FCO was confusing, inconsistent and lacking in compassion, at other times misleading and outdated, and, in the worst cases, entirely absent.”
• Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled a new £2bn fund to build thousands of miles of protected bike lanes in an effort to drive down obesity. Under new pilot plans, GPs in England will be given the ability to make bikes available on prescription for overweight patients, with a new national e-bike system being set up to provide opportunities for older people or those less fit.
• MPs on the Home Affairs Committee have warned that many asylum seekers are still at “heightened risk” of catching Covid-19 unless urgent changes are made to accommodation arrangements. Committee chair Yvette Cooper said: “During the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen the devastating impact this virus can have and the heightened risk in shared accommodation and institutions. The threat from coronavirus hasn’t gone away and more action is needed to prevent it spreading in institutional accommodation and to protect the physical and mental health of those in both asylum accommodation and immigration detention.”
• A cat became the first animal in the UK to catch coronavirus. The cat was believed to have caught the virus from its owners.
• Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is set to fly back to the UK from Spain after cutting his holiday short.
• No new coronavirus cases have been recorded in Scotland for the eleventh consecutive day.
• Two Labour politicians have called on the Welsh Government to make face masks mandatory for people visiting hospitals. They are currently only mandatory on buses, trains and taxis for people 11 and over.
• Informativos Telecinco held an interview with the Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sánchez who said that UK decision to recommend not to travel to Spain as “misadjusted” . He argued that in most of Spain the incidence of coronavirus is low and even lower than in the United Kingdom.
• German Health Minister Jens Spahn said that Germany would introduce mandatory coronavirus testing for people returning from countries designated as high-risk .
• Vietnam has decided to close Da Nang to tourists after it was found that 15 new locally transmitted coronavirus cases were recorded there, the first time in the country since April.
• In the USA a vaccine being developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc has launched the final-stage of testing on 30,000 volunteers.
• The Labour Party ha ve said that the Government needs to support and protect travel jobs following the change in quarantine rules. Jim McMahon MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, said “The Government’s handling of this issue has been nothing short of chaotic. The airline industry and passengers need clarity. The past few days have been symptomatic of the Government who were too slow to enter the lockdown, too slow to get vital protective equipment to NHS, social care and other key workers, and too slow on testing and tracing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
• Unite the Union have commented on the Transport for London (TfL) commissioned report that an earlier lockdown would have saved lives amongst London bus drivers, Unite regional officer John Murphy said “This report makes it quite clear that in its approach to lockdown the government tried to lock the stable door after the horse had bolted. London bus drivers and their families paid a terrible price for the government’s mistakes during the pandemic and these should be fully scrutinised in a public inquiry.”
• On the news of a cat testing positive for covid-19, the British Veterinary Association President Daniella Dos Santos said that “While pet owners may be worried by this news, we’d like to emphasise that there continues to be no evidence that infected pets can pass Covid-19 to their owners. There have been a tiny number of cases of Covid-19 in domestic animals worldwide and in all cases, it appears likely that the transmission was from infected humans to animals. “
• The Telegraph is reporting that people arriving from Spain and other countries back to the UK with high levels of Covid-19 will be cut to 10 days under plans being finalised by ministers. The isolation could be shortened from 14 days to 10 days if they test negative for covid-19.