February 7 2021

The issue of possible Covid passports has been discussed again today as the Government have now made it clear that there will be no special Covid passports issued. I think this is the correct decision as it was confusing the issue of why we need passports and how we use them. They are to enable us to be properly identifiable as a bone fide individual, a citizen of the UK, whilst travelling abroad. Its possession brings you certain protection and privileges.

Many of us have kept in our passports certificates of immunisations and vaccinations that may be required to gain entry to a country and to protect us from diseases. Yellow fever vaccine is still required for many sub-Saharan nations. We also often needed smallpox certification. These documents were provided by the GP and sometimes needed countersigning by the Local Health Authority who could verify the GP’s signature.

These certificates were not passports but facilitated the crossing of borders into countries where they were required. Covid certificates can do exactly the same. With modern technology it is easy to scan these documents onto a phone if people prefer them that way.

This is a tried and tested method, there is absolutely no reason to complicate things any more than necessary.

The plan for quarantine hotels for arrivals into the UK has been under fire from the Welsh First Minister. He alleges the English always do the least they can get away with. England makes a list of countries who residents would require quarantine if they travel to England, whereas it would be much better if we made a list of places that did not require quarantine, and all other arrivals would require the use of a quarantine hotels. The Welsh are urging the UK to follow the advice of SAGE “to go early and go deep”.

We may be a small island nation, but we are a major international hub for travel, trade and financial services. The sheer volume of people coming through the UK makes this a logistical nightmare. It is so much easier for New Zealand to take this approach.

Despite the European Medicines Agency giving full approval for all adults, the Oxford Astra Zenica vaccine has now been banned by the Spanish government from being used by the over 65s. This clearly is a political move and is exactly what happens when they try to put the interests of European Unity above the interests of their people.

There is speculation that when the current lockdown restrictions are removed, the British public will go on a spending binge. With a 4% contraction in the European economy it needs an injection of activity. Are you likely to go off spending money just because you can. What plans or ideas do you have?

I share the concerns that although the vaccine roll out is going very well there are considerable ethnic differences in the uptake. Some 90.6% of eligible White British have accepted their first vaccine, only 33% of those of mixed race, 47% of black people and 64% of Asian people have accepted a jab. What are the causes of this, more important how can we correct it. Remember we know the BAME community seem more susceptible to Covid and have a higher morbidity and mortality. What else can be done to promote the vaccine?

Today’s data reflects a weekend but remains on track and is most encouraging. Some 783,851 tests were done yesterday. This continues to rise, up 7.6% in the last 7 days. Only 15,845 of these tests were positive that is a 24.3% drop in the last 7 days, the rate has fallen to 218/100k of the population.

Deaths continue to fall, only 373 reported yesterday compared with over 500 last Sunday. The rate has dropped to 9.3 /100k but is still 6 thousand in a week.

In hospital on the 4th February there were 29,326 patients with Covid. 2,332 were admitted on 3rd February a drop of 19.7% on the previous week. 3,505 are still being ventilated on 5th February.

Vaccination continues at a remarkable rate with the total now having a first dose of 12,014,288 and 511,447 a second dose.

Between 11am and noon Yesterday almost 1,000 immunisations a minute were done in the UK.

We must not relax or let our guard down now in any way. We can all see the progress being made. We must remember not to relax rules too soon, a new peak could be catastrophic.

Each and every one of us has a part to play, even if its just staying at home alone. That’s about the most important role, not giving it a chance to spread. Please encourage all those you know from the BAME community to have their vaccine. Every single one given helps make this a safer world.

Stay kind, stay supportive and above all stay safe.

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