Friday 13 March 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus Update 11-13 March

COVID-19 coronavirus update 11/03 - 13/03

The UK added 208 cases today and now has reported a total of 798 positive cases of COVID-19. We had tested 32,771 people as of 9am this morning.

The UK has reported a total of 11 losses of life.

Total cases are: England 491, Scotland 85, Wales 38 and Northern Ireland 29.

18 of the UK's positive testing cases have recovered.

Rep. Of Ireland have 43 cases.

The world has reported 144,031 cases and 5,397 losses of life. 70,920 people have already recovered.

Getting your workplace ready WHO poster


Thursday's COBRA meeting came on the back of utter disaster in Italy and 2 waves of heavy COVID-19 infection occurring across the whole of Europe.
- We aren't going to bother testing people who are ill unless they get super ill. This is a bit naughty and means we will never have a true number. Shame as we started so well.
-This is going to happen
- We are only 4 weeks behind Italy (3 by my measure)
- Bothering of the NHS from now on should be reserved for people who genuinely NEED help. Don't ring 111 or your GP unless you require actual assistance. No quibbles or grumbles just now.
- If you have: a new continuous cough OR a high temperature (37.8 degrees or higher), you should stay at home for 7 days.
- Schools for now at least stay open, as we have a long way to go before this epidemic is over, and don't want to start too early. (Most UK children have only 2 weeks left before they break up for Easter.)
- You'll all no doubt be delighted with the news foreign school trips are barred. As Italy has now been a mess for 3 weeks, and the whole of western Europe is about to join them, I'm stunned anyone would even consider it.
- Older people and those with existing health conditions are advised they shouldn't go on cruises. Erm....yes.

Nicola Sturgeon spoke earlier, immediately after the COBRA meeting. In Scotland events with over 500 people are cancelled because of additional pressure on health services, but otherwise advice and restrictions are the same.

The UK woke up on Friday to discover not only are we feeling like a bit of an experiment, some of the world thinks so too. In case you didn't quite grasp what UK policy is, we're going to allow people to catch COVID-19 at a nice slow rate until everyone who will catch it has had it, never overwhelming the health services.
That's clearly a great idea, but a potentially impossible game to win, especially wearing a blindfold.

A group of schoolchildren from Wigan who went on an Italian school trip last Saturday to Rome will have to self-isolate when they return.

Staff and pupils from a school in Marple, South Manchester, flew to Turin Airport last Saturday for a week-long ski trip in La Plagne, France. They are now unable to return via the same route and will come home via Switzerland instead.

Chris Whittey, Chief Medical Officer on Thursday morning sent a letter to all UK doctors explaining that this is "a very abnormal emergency situation" and basically warning them that they will have to work in whatever capacity is needed at the time, whether they've been specifically trained in it or not. Best of luck to all of you, and the strength to keep going. I cannot imagine how scared you are right now.

England's May local elections have been postponed until next year.

The Welsh Government has suspended all non-urgent operations and outpatient appointments as part of plan to focus on Coronavirus care

Sheffield University have suspended all face-to-face teaching until further notice after a member of staff tested positive.

In an interview on FUBAR Radio, UK Telly bloke Dr Christian Jessen said "The Italians, any old excuse to, you know, shut down everything and stop work for a bit and have a long siesta.”
“This is like a bad cold really, let’s be honest.”
They're loving it Christian, just look at all the blogs and tweets from medical staff over there. Whale of a time. Currently Italy have 1.153 seriously ill patients and 1,016 losses of life.

The UK Premier League football will temporarily suspend, with or without government measures. Chelsea and Arsenal first teams are now in isolation after positive tests for players and management, and with 2 teams out, it's the right thing to do. Scotland and Wales have also suspended the league.

April's London Marathon has been postponed for the first time ever and rearranged for 4th October, and Boston Marathon has also been cancelled in the USA.

The WHO pneumonia vaccine advice

The Rest Of The World: 

Ireland have closed all educational buildings until March 29th.

Italy has closed all shops except food and pharmacies in an effort to stem COVID-19.  They are having a nightmare and there is no likelihood it will come back under their control for weeks. With citizens free  to use social media, we are beginning to really appreciate what medics in Wuhan and other parts of China endured, and what must also be playing out in Iran and other countries already.

El Salvador are banning all foreigners from entering the country for 21 days, and the entire nation is having a 21-day quarantine. Drastic, but it could prove incredibly prudent.

The United States are expected to declare a State Of Emergency Friday evening GMT.

A passenger on a flight from New York to Palm Beach found out his coronavirus test was positive while in the air. No word on whether he stood up and shouted "Don't be alarmed, but stupidly I have taken a flight while waiting for a coronavirus test, and.... surprise...."

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has announced that schools and universities will remain closed from Monday for two weeks.

Estonia's government is closing schools and banning public gatherings nationwide until May 1.

Qatar had only 24 cases of COVID-19 and on Wednesday added another 238. The health ministry explained they had shared accommodation with previously known cases and had been in quarantine. Even so, Qatar has closed all schools and universities, cancelled large events and barred travellers from 14 more countries.

The USA have temporarily barred indoor sports with 3 letter acronyms, including NBA, NHL, MLS and MLB.

On Thursday evening a plane landed in Rome. It's was sent from China and contains 3.86 million pieces (4,556 boxes) of protective gear to return a favour to overseas Chinese people living in Italy.
At the worst of the outbreak in Wuhan, the 300,000 Chinese nationals living in Italy sent whatever they could to help, and their support was greatly needed.
The cargo plane was loaded with 26.4 tonnes of disposable masks, N95 medical masks, goggles, latex gloves and other protective clothing.

Denmark’s government is closing all state schools and requiring public-sector employees besides emergency workers to stay home.

The Netherlands have banned gatherings of more than 100 people.

Emmanuel Macron addressed the French in an impassioned speech. Some of the main points below, but it's worth watching, even if you don't speak French.
- People over the age of 70, suffering from chronic or respiratory diseases, stay at home
- As of Monday, and until further notice, nurseries, schools, colleges, high schools and universities will be closed.
- When possible, I ask companies to allow their employees to work remotely. Teleworking must be intensified as much as possible.
- All national hospital capacities as well as the maximum of doctors and carers will be mobilized. As well as students and young retirees".

The Irish Courts Service have announced no new trials will commence in the Central Criminal Court (i.e rape and murder trials) for the remainder of this court term and all of next term, meaning no new trials until June 10th.

The USA have banned all flights and travellers from Europe covered by the EU Schengen - which the UK just voted out of. Flights to the US come from many places via the UK, and will continue for now. Even so, if you wanted to get home from the UK to the USA, I'd probably think about doing it fairly soon.

Czechia has declared a state of emergency and barred entry to visitors from 15 countries.

Some scientists in the US have already realised they are going to need components from Europe to manufacture COVID-19 testing kits....

Mount Everest has closed due to coronavirus. Any shortness of breath in such a thin atmosphere would be life-threatening very quickly.

US citizens may be about to get free coronavirus testing and treatment thanks to Katie Porter - she proved the cost per test was $1,331 under private health care, far more than most Americans will be able or willing to pay. A section of US Code of Federal Regulations allows the CDC to waive the cost, and director Dr. Robert Redfield has agreed.

Spain has imposed restrictions on its population, especially in most affected regions (Madrid, the Basque Country, La Rioja and Catalonia)
- temporary closure of public sports centres, theatres and daycare centres for the elderly
- prohibiting gatherings which involve more than 1000 attendees
- closing all educational centres, including nurseries, schools and universities for 15 days or until further notice.
- National museums in Madrid are closed until further notice.
- Some local festivals such as Las Fallas in Valencia and sporting events have been postponed.
And in fact today Spain has declared a State Of Emergency from midnight and closed bars, public buildings and called in military assistance. Spain currently has 4,334 cases (+1,188) and 122 loss of life (+36).

Tiny Mediterranean island Malta has imposed travel restrictions on Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Switzerland. Prime Minister Robert Abela also set out a number of protective measures:
- the closure of all schools, university and childcare centres from 13th March - 20th March
- the closure of day centres for the elderly
- Cancellation of all large gatherings unless absolutely necessary
- all senior football games to be played behind closed doors and other matches cancelled.
- From Monday mass and rosary prayers will be shown on TV, to limit the number of people congregating in church.
- No political activities will be held.

China have a total of 80,796, adding just 18 more today. Truly astounding. Sadly they have 3,169 losses of life, but current cases are down to 14,801.

The USA have truly realised COVID-19 exists and could cause massive loss of life. Shops, public buildings and schools have closed in affected areas, and panic buying has ensued (Hint - what you really need is books, buy more books).

Donald Trump clearly knows what's important when fighting COVID-19, public approval ratings. "Our response is one of the best, with fast action of border closings & a 78% Approval Rating, the highest on record". No mate, you ignored it for ages, last week you called it flu several times and until Tuesday you believed all cases in the US were imported.
Currently the US has reported 2,030 cases and 41 loss of life.

Kenya have reported their first case of COVID-19. This is very bad. Sub-saharan Africa is not in a position to cope and access to medical care is very limited.
Kenya has 106 ICU beds, (with just 42 for really sick COVID-19 patients) and a population of 47m. 1 ICU bed per 396,226 people.

The UK have 4123 adult ICU beds and a population of 67m. 1 ICU bed per 16,250 people.

The USA have roughly 94,000 ICU beds and a population of 331m. 1 ICU bed per 3,521 people. (Around half of these beds are currently not used for emergency care).

Taiwan obviously has very close links to China, yet has only 50 cases of COVID-19 and 1 loss of life. They have had practise with SARS and totally rock at all things containment, quarantine and testing. The same day China reported the new coronavirus to the WHO (31st December), Taiwan started checking travellers at airports. On 12th January they were allowed to send a research team to mainland China, and back home immediately began testing and isolating any suspected cases, and all of their contacts. They closed borders with China and requested travel history from anyone entering before our UK government had even raised the threat level.
They have actioned well over 120 public health policies since then, have temperature checking for most public buildings and hourly information for their very well informed public. They also ensure masks are rationed to 3 per person per week at a price all can afford.

Singapore have banned cruise ships.

India closes movie theatres, gyms and swimming pools in Mumbai and five other cities in Maharashtra from 12am tonight and anyone who can work from home is instructed to do so.
Delhi and Kerala schools and movie theatres have already been shut. Schools in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad will also remain shut till further orders.
Jammu and Kashmir have ordered the closure of all malls, gyms, swimming pools and recreational clubs till 31 March.
Karnataka has also ordered malls, cinemas, pubs and night clubs to be shut for a week.
Class 10 state board exams will still take place - sorry kids!

Australia have banned gatherings of 500 people or more from Monday.

Belgium, Switzerland, most of Germany and several US states have closed schools.

The UK have banned foreign school trips to Italy.

Whole World News:

At Friday's WHO press briefing Dr Tedros started by thanking the true heroes here, the people who will go to hell and back many times over the next few months:
"HealthWorkers do a heroic job. We know that COVID19 crisis is putting a huge burden on you & your families. We know you are stretched to the limit.
You have our admiration, respect & commitment to doing everything we can to keep you safe & enable you to do your job".
He followed with a stark warning:
"Our message to countries continues to be: you must take a comprehensive approach. Not testing alone. Not contact tracing alone. Not quarantine alone. Not social distancing alone. Do it all"
"Any country that looks at the experience of other countries with large epidemics and thinks “that won’t happen to us” is making a deadly mistake. It can happen to anyone"

The World Health Organisation today launched the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. It enables private individuals, corporations and institutions anywhere in the world to come together to directly contribute to global response efforts, and has been created by the United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, together with WHO.
The fund launches with major support already lined up, including Facebook and Google - who have a matching scheme for funds raised through their platforms.

Remember to wash your hands, but it's even more important to stop touching your face. One of the big benefits of healthy people wearing masks is it stops them from touching their face. You can have all sorts of bugs and nasties on your fingers, but it's when you introduce them to an eye, ear, mouth or nose that they become an issue. No rubbing or picking!!

Michael Rosen Tweet about picking ears and noses

Princess Cruises and Viking Cruises have suspended all cruises for the next 60 days. It's not been going so well recently.

Every person who develops pneumonia from COVID-19 and needs to be hospitalised can expect to be there for around a week minimum, and some patients require 5 or 6 weeks treatment before they can go home. This is why it is so exhaustive of health resources, and the UK government are already asking people to stay away from medics unless you need their help. Everyone else needs them too.

According to the South China Morning Post, they have seen as yet unreleased government data which still hasn't been able to trace back patient zero, but suggests a 55 year-old from Hubei province could be the first known person to have contracted Covid-19 on November 17th 2019.

If you've seen a copy paste letter claiming to be from 'Stanford doctors' and including information about drinking water every 15 minutes to prevent COVID-19, it's rubbish. The WHO addressed this a while back because it was a popular hoax in Asia, seems it's reached the UK too. Picture below.

UK Stanford doctors hoax

WHO saline nose drops hoax poster

Jan 20th:
UK 4123 Open ICU Beds Adult
312 open paediatric
Adult 3423 occupied
Paed 247
Adult 83% / paed 79%


  1. Another fantastic update. Thanks for keeping the sanity through these insane times x


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