March 25 2021

In parliament today the Emergency Covid laws which cover all the lockdown measures were extended for a further 6 months until the end of October. The Labour party supported the Government but a number of Tory rebels voted against, but the Government easily won by 484 votes to 76. One new item was added to the bill making it illegal to travel abroad except in very special circumstances. If you try to go on holiday you will face a fine of £5,000 each.

The NHS has reduced its threat level from 4 to 3. The NHS has seen a dramatic reduction in the extreme pressure they have been under. Back in January of this year there were 34,000 people in hospital with covid 19 whereas now, its only just over 5,000.

The police have now apparently retracted their earlier statement that 2 police officers had bones broken in the Bristol riots. It would seem that information was wrong, and that the public were misled about this.

There are reports that there will be delays in the Norovax vaccine being available in the UK We have 60 million doses on order. The Remdesivir story has returned with new claims that it can shorten Covid recovery by 2 days but it does not reduce the risk of dying . In a new study reported, 570 patients were recruited half of whom were treated with Remdesivir and the other half were not. In the treated group the median time of recovery was 5 days compared with 7 days in the non- treated group. It is not clear how the point of recovery was defined. There is no information as to whether this was double blind or how much consideration there was to unconscious bias. The WHO have previously announced there was little or no benefit demonstrated in previous trials and I do not think this study is robust enough to change that view. There seems to have been a rush across the Irish border with Southern Ireland residents trying to get vaccinated in Northern Ireland. Apparently several hundred have tried. They have now been warned they will not get a vaccine unless they live in Northern Ireland and are registered with a Northern Ireland GP. The discontent in the EU continues with both Germany and Italy threatening to abandon the EU policy and look to the Russian Sputnik 5 vaccine to solve their supply problem.

There are reports of a double mutant strain of Covid 19 being found in India. They have published an analysis of 10,787 samples that have had genomic sequencing. 736 were positive for the UK Kent variant. 34 were positive for the South African variant and 1 positive for the Brazilian variant. the pandemic is quite active in India at present. It is a vast country with 47,262 cases per day this week and 275 daily deaths.

OAZ say that many of the problems they have faced is because they have produced this vaccine cheaply at cost price for low and middle-income countries. As things stand, they are unlikely to want to do this again in a future pandemic. The EU criticisms and the huge profits made by rival companies has caused much distress.One dose of the OAZ vaccine costs just £3 compared with £15 for a Pfizer dose or £28 for a Moderna dose. Some changes for the rules will come into force on Monday. The stay at home policy will change to a stay local policy. Looking around my area I think people are going out with impunity knowing its difficult to enforce. Please don’t go out just because you can. Only go out for essential reasons and please stay local. Local is not defined but you have to make a realist assessment as to whether the journey is essential and whether it could be achieved nearer home.There are relaxations about meeting outside. Two households or up to six people can now meet outside in a park or garden and have a coffee together, you can also play tennis and basketball together. Remember the effects of relaxing these rules will be watched very carefully, if they are abused or have an adverse effect on the pandemic they can easily be reversed.

Todays statistics continue to be encouraging but numbers infected just do not want to fall yet.

A staggering 1,813,842 covid tests were done in the last 24 hours and 6,397 were found to be positive. This is only a 2% drop and the positive rate is 56 per 100k of the population. The latest hospital data show 5,122 patients are in hospital, 354 more were admitted yesterday and 683 are being managed on a ventilator. Deaths have fallen a further 31% in the seven day average and now stand at just 63. The death rate is just 0.7 per 100k of the population.

Vaccination numbers continue to rise 28,991,188 1st doses have been given and 2,775,461 second doses have been given.

If we were alone fighting this I would be delighted that our efforts are paying off, but sadly those dark storm clouds over Europe continue to be a big threat. We must keep it off our Island Nation. Please no foreign travel, you must still stay at home for a few more days. We must get as many immunised as possible before the vaccine dries up or is blocked for our use. Please do not forget the basics with sanitizing, wearing masks and staying apart

Parties have to remain something of the past and dreams of the future for a while longer. Please do not slip up or fall at the end of the race.

Just Stay Safe.

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