Saturday 23 May 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 23rd May 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 23rd May 2020.

The UK added 2,959 cases today and now has reported a total of 257,154 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 116,585 tests yesterday. 9,331 people are in hospital, down 11% from this time last week. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 282 people who have tested positive to COVID-19. We now very sadly have a total of 36,675 losses of life in all settings.

England 148,724 / 32,666
Northern Ireland 4,545 / 504
Scotland 15,041 / 2,245
Wales 13,169 / 1,260

Rep. Of Ireland 24,506 cases and 1,592 losses of life. (Not yet reported today).

There have now been a total of 5,360,914 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 341,829. Already 2,187,269 people have recovered.

Scarf as a face covering UK Government

Scandalous political news of the day is that Dominic Cummings (Boris' top aide) drove from London to Durham, to isolate at his parent's house when he had symptoms of COVID-19. Apparently it was because his wife was ill and nearby relatives were on standby to help with the kids and do their shopping for them, however it remains against the spirit of the lockdown, against the lockdown rules and potentially moves COVID-19 around the country. He's had support from people including Health Secretary Matt Hancock, and a few choice words from people who have kept to the lockdown, including plenty who have had to manage alone. 

Today's UK briefing was with Grant Shapps, Minister for Transport, and Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer. 
A public transport fund of £283m to start returning to full service, but even at best we can only manage 1/5 of previous passenger numbers. 
PLEASE walk, cycle or drive if you can - in that order. Consider travelling off peak if possible. 
There'll be jolly people at stations to offer assistance (and I imagine remind you to maintain social distancing). 
This bank holiday weekend they're fixing Leeds station and the track to Wakefield, as well as about 490 projects that can happen much more quickly while we're all at home. 
Lots of other new road and rail schemes will happen, examples below:
They're replacing lots of stations axed by the Beeching Act - including the Ivanhoe line for Leicester to Burton, and branch lines in Somerset and Isle of Wight. 
The A66 will be finished too. 
More park and ride outside town centres.
We need to permanently change the way we use transport (bit long term that one!). 
From next month you can apply for a £50 Bicycle Maintenance Voucher. 

Press asked if it was appropriate to drive hundreds of miles to isolate nearer to family if you have symptoms of coronavirus (snigger). Grant and Jenny knew they were had. There was nothing they could say that helped the position. Press hammered them. 'Is it okay for anyone to drive all those miles if people can't attend funerals, see dying loved ones? What is the travel advice if you are ill? How far can you go to be near people to help you with shopping? "2 senior aides have already resigned after breaking lockdown, what is different about Dominic Cummings?" etc'.
They had an admirable attempt, but nope. They did manage to remind us that if you are vulnerable it would be a safeguarding issue, so in that case appropriate. They also managed to suggest TWICE that Dominic Cummings is not capable of looking after his own 4 year old by himself without it becoming a safeguarding issue - which I'm pretty sure is not what they intended. I can't comment, they know him, I don't. Surely even he can open spaghetti hoops. 
They had no chance. Second time running I bet Jenny has hit the gin straight afterwards.

Good vaccine candidate trial news from China and it's peer-reviewed (checked over). 108 participants given 3 different doses of the trial vaccine show antibodies and haven't suffered notable negative effects 28 days later. 
It was a fairly rough immunisation. 9 of them developed a high fever (over 38.5) and a couple had flu-like symptoms, but symptoms lasted only 48 hours. 
Within the first 7 days after the vaccination 87 participants reported mostly mild or moderate adverse effects: 58 had injection site pain, 50 had fever, 47 fatigue, 42 headache, and 18 had muscle pain. "No serious adverse event was noted within 28 days post-vaccination." 
Antibodies... "increased significantly at day 14, and peaked 28 days post-vaccination. Specific T-cell response peaked at day 14 post-vaccination."
The participants will continue to be tested for at least 6 months, stage 2 of the trial will only use the 2 lower doses.. 

Eid Mubarak Canada

Bangladesh-based Beximco have started making a generic version of the drug Remdesivir. Trials show it seems to reduce recovery time by an average 5 days. They are going to sell it for about 6,000 taka (£58/$70) a vial to private clinics, but will give it free to state-run hospitals treating Covid-19 patients. 

The Government of Liberia has extended their lockdown for 2 weeks with some relaxations. Restaurants and some shops are allowed to open with only 1/4 of occupancy and the curfew is relaxed to 6pm-6am. Masks must be worn in all public spaces. 

Donald Trump has declared houses of worship essential services so that they can reopen. Church services are excellent places to catch COVID-19. 

In defence of Dominic Cummings (which is a phrase I never thought I'd ever use), 16 months ago my family had flu, and for around 4 days my partner and I were completely unable to look after our own children. He was hospitalised and I was asleep or on the toilet (or both) for 3 days. If our young children had been younger and we hadn't had the big kids to come and help, we'd have been in a real mess. That would have been an issue of safety, and it is worth ensuring you do have a plan in place, in case it happens to you. Try to avoid your plan involving driving hundreds of miles during a national lockdown. 

Brazil and Mexico are 2 countries in real trouble, and political arguing has played a definite part. Both have an awful trajectory and if it continues, Brazil will have more COVID-19 cases than the USA by next week. Mexico aren't rising quite so fast, but both countries may be limited by testing capacity. Mexico's government have stated they believe they have 8 times as many cases as have been tested.
President Bolsonaro of Brazil recently declared gyms and hairdressers essential services so that they could re-open. He has refused to implement any national measures and state governors have imposed their own restrictions. 
Mexico's President Obrador is also in battle with state governors, several of whom have imposed heavier restrictions than those laid down nationally, while some are refusing to follow national guidelines and planning to return to business as usual. 

Spanish professional football La Liga will return from June 8th. 

Iran are reopening some religious shrines for Eid, for 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the evening. It's part of a wider, cautious reopening of business. 

Gruffalo 2 metres after Julia Donaldson

Cyprus have announced a ban on visitors from the UK when they reopen. The only countries in the entire world that you can go on holiday to today from the UK (those without a ban, with an open border, no quarantine or entry restrictions, including COVID-19 tests) as far as I can see (because sometimes the wording is really weird and ambiguous) are:
Most other countries allow return of nationals and some allow entry on compassionate grounds (funerals etc). A few allow entry for business purposes with permission. 

China have reported no new cases of COVID-19 at all for 24 hours, for the first time since the outbreak began. Fantastic news, let's hope that keeps happening - and with increased regularity... 

Some numbers. They all represent real people: 

Countries / Cases / Losses of life (some states /provinces yet to report): 

USA 1,651,937 (+6,843) 97,847 (+200) 
Brazil 339,687 (+8,797) 21,579 (+531)
Russia 335,882 (+9,434) 3,388 (+139)
Spain 281,904 not yet reported today 28,628
UK 257,154 (+2,959) 36,675 (+282)
Italy 229,327 (+669) 32,735 (+119) 
Iran 133,521 (+1,869) 7,359 (+59) 
India 130,506 (+5,712) 3,850 (+124) 
Saudi Arabia 70,161 (+2,442) 379 (+15) 
Chile 65,393 (+3,536) 673 (+43)
Mexico 62,527 (+2,960) 6,989 (+479) 
Belgium 56,810 (+299) 9,237 (+25) 
Pakistan 52,437 (+1,743) 1,101 (+34)
Netherlands 45,064 (+176) 5,811 (+23) 
Qatar 42,213 (+1,732) 21 (+2) 
Belarus 35,244 (+941) 194 (+4)
Sweden 33,188 (+379) 3,992 (+67)
Bangladesh 32,078 (+1,873) 452 (+20) 
Singapore 31,068 (+642) 23
Switzerland 30,725 (+18) 1,905 (+2) 
Portugal 30,471 (+271) 1,302 (+13) 
Tanzania 509 not yet reported today 21


Updated travel news from the UK:

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