Monday 8 March 2021

UK Coronavirus Briefing with Boris 8th March 2021

UK Coronavirus Briefing with Boris 8th March 2021 - the day that:

- UK Pupils and students went back to in-person tuition en masse.
- Care Home residents can have 1 regular visitor
- Anyone wishing to leave the UK via England must fill in a Travel Declaration Form
- Outdoor exercise and recreation is allowed with 1 other adult, who does not have to be in your bubble.

Cases: 4,223,232 (+4,712)
Losses of life: 124,566 (+65)
In hospital: 10,898 (Thursday 4th March)
Using a ventilator: 1,452 (Friday 5th March)
Vaccinated 1st dose: 22,377,255
Vaccinated 2nd dose: 1,142,643

UK Government COVID Road Map 8th March 2021

We had a COVID briefing today with Boris De Pfeffel Johnson and Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England.

Boris started by saying it's a 'big day', and an 'emotional day' as pupils go back to school and see their friends. He thanks teachers for getting everything ready, and teaching in all the ways they have. He also thanks parents, especially women, who have faced the brunt of the burden (thanks Boz). 

More than 1/3 of the entire UK population has now been vaccinated, and it is at least 3 weeks since the most vulnerable groups received their first vaccination - so it will be offering excellent protection.
Reopening schools to all pupils WILL inevitably cause a small rise in cases, please continue to follow the rules, so that doesn't get out of control and we have to slow down reopening. "We will be driven by the data". We still have 8 times the people in hospital with COVID than we did during the lowest points last Summer.

Jenny with the slides. The latest 7 day average for new cases is 5,889 and falling.
Case rates are now below 100 cases per 100,000 population in every region across England, but 'not uniformly'. Overall it's at the rate we had last September, so it would be easy for it to take off again.
We have around 10,000 patients in hospital currently, and that is still a strain on the NHS. We can't afford to let that go up any higher again.
The average 7 day average for losses of life is 206 and falling.
People are reaching the 12 week period after first vaccinations, so 2nd doses are going up now. 

The first question was from a young person, asking what is being done to help his generation. Boris talked about working to stop spread and reopen, and get young people back to being able to do all that stuff young people need to do. He can't really offer a lot more right now.

UK Government COVID Road Map 29th March 2021

Public asked about 'Vaccine Passports' and how they will work with children under 16 - who aren't currently due to be vaccinated. Boris explained that options are being discussed, as they are regarding adults who can't be vaccinated - and they are being discussed internationally. Whatever decisions are made, they have to be acceptable to other countries. There will inevitably be some standardisation, so it's possible we might see 2 or 3 options tried before everyone settles on something universal.

Boris and Jenny answered questions on R rate going up with school reopening. They both explained that it WILL. We know it will. We are mixing more people together (I'm so much happier now they're honest and logical with that one).
Jenny talked about the regular testing of schoolchildren having a knock on effect by discovering asymptomatic COVID that could be affecting whole families (I'm with her, I'm hopeful it'll help really slow community spread).
Children and young people will have their first 3 or 4 lateral flow tests on site, so that they can learn how to do it correctly, before moving to regular home testing. 

Press asked about supporting people to self-isolate. Boris talked about the £500 payment (for the very lowest paid) and money given to local authorities. You CAN contact your local council if you are isolating and can't get food or medicine - if you have symptoms or have tested positive, you should not go to the shops or chemist yourself. 

UK Government COVID Road Map 12th April at the earliest 2021

Press asked about speeding up reopening. Boris said we don't want to go backwards, we need to do this with caution (once and for all). Jenny talked about needing a long 'assessment period' between different relaxations to get genuine data. It is vital to see the difference each step makes to cases, hospitalisations and deaths, and you can't speed that process up. 

Press questions about nurses, and their 3-6 quid a week pay rise. Boris said nurses tell him they want more nurses, and talked about how many more nurses there are now. (I'm not sure that's how they all feel...)

Press questions also talked about Boris' expensive refurbishment of his Downing Street flat, Boris threatening breaching terms of the Brexit deal, Megan & Harry's interview with Oprah Winfrey, and the apparent racism within the Royal family - not Liz or Phil apparently.
Boris didn't really answer most of those questions, and I don't blame him...

Back tomorrow with the regular report. Enjoy your new freedoms, but Stay 1m+ Apart, Keep Well, Save The NHS.

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