Today the statistics were available on time, so I will start with them. There are no surprises There is a slow, but sustained, fall in the daily numbers of new cases. Today there were 55,761 new cases reported in the last 24 hours. This is a 13.7% fall in the 7 day rolling average. A very high total of 695,148 tests were done yesterday, which is 22.8% higher than the previous 7 day rolling average. The number of deaths reported today is 1,280, this sadly is a 31.7% increase in the 7 day rolling average. The rate is now above 9, at 9.1 per 100k. This I believe is the first time it has gone above 9.37,252 patients were in hospital on 13th January. There were 4,262 admissions yesterday, and 3,672 patients are on a ventilator.
As I have explained several times the hospital admissions and deaths will continue to rise for the next two weeks before they plateau off. Globally now, some 2.9 million deaths have been reported across the world since the pandemic began. It puts it in perspective when you realise that the number of global deaths in the 1918 pandemic was 50 million.
The Prime Minister gave a press briefing at 5pm tonight. He stressed the amazing efforts that have gone into the mass vaccinations around the country. He announced that all travel corridors to the UK are to be closed and that after 4am on Monday no one will be allowed to enter the UK without approved evidence of a negative test within the last 72 hours. They will then be required to state their destination in the UK and self-isolate until they have a further test after 5 days. This is enforced by law and there are substantial fines for non-compliance. All flights to and from South America and Portugal have already been halted as from this morning.
3.2 million people have now had their first jab. That is about 45% of the over 80s and 40% of all home care residents, one or two areas have done 90% of their over 80s.
Porton Down laboratory is now investigating the Brazilian variant. The current evidence so far does not suggest this strain causes any higher mortality rate or that it affects the current vaccines or treatment. It does appear to show the same increased transmissibility found with both the Kent and South African variants. Even if it does become necessary to modify the vaccine as we do with the annual flu vaccine, it should be easy and quick to do especially with the RNA vaccine
In a dreadful scam, a man has been charged with charging £162 from an elderly lady of 92 for giving a false Covid vaccine. It is not known what she was injected with. Please warn you friends and relatives of these scams which are only going to increase.
A study using convalescent serum from patients who had recovered from Covid has been terminated as there was no evidence the treatment was having any benefit.
Litchfield Cathedral has been described as the most glamorous vaccination centre. It has been transformed into a large centre with a large number of volunteers busy immunising the very elderly.
France has banned the rapid flow tests for non-EU residents insisting they are tested with the PCR test within 72 hours of travelling across their borders. There is a significant risk of traffic chaos building up again.
Norfolk and Norwich NHS Hospital has had to bring in some 30 military trained health care workers to help combat a very high staff sickness rate. It is now 14% and rising.
Devon and Cornwall police have warned that people flouting the travel restrictions and other lockdown rules this weekend could find themselves detained in a police cell as well as incurring significant fines. An important Supreme Court ruling today means that insurance pay-outs can be made to small businesses forced to close in the first lockdown. This is significant good news for many small business owners. It is going to be very tough for the next two weeks. Please all play your part and stay apart. Better still stay at home. Do not forget the basics of cleaning surfaces and door handles with an alcohol- based spray. Regular hand washing and face covering. Try to get food delivered and sit it out while we wait for the vaccines to kick in. It is estimated that by mid-February we will reduce our risk of dying from Covid by 80%.
Look after one another, do discuss and share your thoughts and concerns.