Yet more encouraging news tonight from the statistics, they show we are still on a steady path way to recovery. Remember the exit strategy is very flexible, and is constructed in such a way that if something untoward happens we can pause or stop. Every one intends this to be the last time we walk this path. So, we must make it work. It depends on the continuing efficacy of both the vaccines and their supply chains. It depends on no new resistant variants emerging and above all it requires us to comply with all the rules.
On 21st February 590,591 Covid tests were done making a weekly total of 3.5 million. Today 10,641 tests have been found to be positive. There has been an 11%drop in the last week . The rate of positive tests continues to fall and is now 121 per 100k of the population.
Hospital admissions on 18th February amounted to 1,304. The other figures have not been updated today. At the last count there were still 18,000 plus in a hospital bed.
Tomorrow we should see the more up to date picture.
Vaccines continued to be given at a remarkable pace. Now over 17.7 million first doses are given and 624,000 second doses.
NHS staff in Birmingham have all received an individual letter from the University Birmingham NHS Trust. In the letter they were warned they could be “considered deliberately attempting to deceive the NHS if they tried to get a second dose before their scheduled appointment” and as such this will become a professional conduct issue which may result in disciplinary action and or a regulatory action taken against you. I will be interested in your opinions about this. Is this a heavy-handed act? Would, could or should such action be taken? Where are the confidentiality issues? I know some NHS occupational health staff read this. Would you follow Birmingham’s threat?
Breaking news from Scotland shows a study involving the whole of Scotland demonstrating that after a Covid vaccination hospitalisation with Covid is reduced by 94%.The details of the Prime Minister’s road map out of lockdown has been subject to drip by drip leakage over the last 4 days, I will secure a copy of the 68 page document and read it as soon a s possible. There are four key dates to remember: March 8th, April 12th, May 17th, and June 21st. When and if things are still on track the next stages in the relaxing of the rules will be announced on those days.
On March 8th All schools in England will return to near normal working in a Covid secure way. Secondary children will be required to wear masks at school. By announcing this today, he is giving teachers two weeks to prepare for the return. At the same time outdoor school sports activities can restart. Also from March 8th, with the children at school you will be able to meet one other person from another household outdoors, in a park, drink coffee on a bench or share a picnic. A care home resident will be allowed one visitor with full precautions in place.
The beginning of the Easter holidays on 29th March will allow groups meeting outdoors to be increased to 6 . Tennis, golf courses and outdoor sports can all be resumed. However, you cannot stay away from home overnight until after Easter.
From 12th April, hairdressers, beauty salons and beer gardens for up to 6 in a group may open again.
May 17th will allow cinemas to reopen and the groups of 6 to go indoors again.
June 21st allows night clubs to be opened. And larger gatherings for weddings may be allowed.
From the leaks we have seen today it looks as though the Hands, Face and Space message has no signs of being dropped before high summer, A hug from your granny is even less likely to be allowed in the foreseeable future.
Remember this is very much a plan to endeavour to follow. It is very important to see it is dependent on the roll out of vaccine and the reduction of NHS pressure which still remains of concern. Eight more weeks before a hair cut!
From today nothing changes, we can prepare for the children to go to school in 2 weeks. We must however continue with all the guidelines and rules. If we let things slip our plans will be useless and will have to be abandoned.
Please stay at home, stay apart and stay safe. We want to get this right this time so let us give it the best chance we can and then we will overcome.
As the PM is not scheduled to speak to us for a while yet, I will read his document over night and report in more detail tomorrow. There are a lot of unanswered questions still.