April 2 2021

Easter is arriving today for the second year with very difficult conditions; with churches closed and most shops other than food suppliers closed. With instructions to stay local within your Local Authority area. No entertainment at home indoors with others no travelling to favourite beaches or beauty spots. No opportunity to go to a second home or a short holiday in the sun. For many of my friends working for the NHS, in social care or the emergency services it is working or on call as usual.

One idea, especially if you have children to keep entertained might be to reintroduce some of the Easter activities used by earlier generations. How about painting some ordinary eggs that you might have for breakfast? Something that happened in my family when a child. You could have an Easter egg hunt, or if you have a suitable small hill near you what about egg rolling competitions?Families always used to generate their own entertainment so can you remember how to play charades? Could you put on a family concert with budding musicians or singing together. Even I spy could make a comeback!

Being serious though, many of us could record such events and save them to be reshown years to come. It is important we do not allow ourselves or our families to become bored, the weather is set to deteriorate so garden activities will be less easy. The more stoic may say there is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing.

Statistics released today show 1,266,685 Covid tests were done. Of these, 3,402 were positive. This is encouraging, the rate of positive cases has dropped by 26.6% in the last week and now stands at 53.7/100k.

There were a further 52 deaths recorded today which is steadily progressing downwards with a 38.2% drop in the last 7-day average. The death rate has fallen again to 0.4/100k of the population.

Health data is not reported today but its worth looking at the last figures we have. 3,723 were in hospital on 31st March, 273 new admissions were required on 28th March. 517 people were being treated on a ventilator. I am confident these figures will have fallen considerably by the middle of next week.

Vaccination continues, now we are doing many more 2nd doses. The figures are 31.3 million first jabs and 4.94 million second doses given on 2 April.

In other news, campaigners have launched a legal challenge against the blanket ban on elderly residents making trips away from their Care Home. The campaigners say it interferes with basic human rights and makes their Care Home into a prison. Under the new rule those aged 65 or older are prevented from leaving home except in exceptional cases. To say that a Care Home resident who is capable should not to be allowed a walk out in a local park just because she lives in a Care Home is a bit unreasonable and the campaigners have a fair point. We have Homes where up to 50% staff are refusing to be immunised whereas residents are much better protected, sure their home is a Care Home and the rules about leaving home are the same for them as the rest of us. I understand the reason for this move but it would seem badly managed, we do not have to lock up our elderly to keep them safe.

The Prime Minister has a scheduled briefing to the Nation on Easter Monday. He must have this sorted out properly by then. We certainly should not believe some of the media speculation.

Also on Monday we can expect to hear what might be the next steps in unlocking due on April 12th.

As things stand pub gardens and hairdressers are scheduled to reopen. It is also planned he should give an explanation of top-level thinking about travel and vaccination certificates. I just cannot understand the ethical objections here. I have been used to showing international travel vaccination certificates as I have travelled abroad, I used to show a bus pass to get free travel to and from school. Many children have an identity type card to allow them into a cinema for some film ratings and not others. Others carry evidence they are old enough to buy alcohol or watch X rated films. We all carry driving licences. None of use should object to needing to demonstrate we do not pose a risk to others by showing we have antibodies against Covid when mixing in a crowd at an event.

To trigger the move to the next phase on 12 April the PM must be satisfied that the infection rate, the speed of vaccine rollouts, the prevalence of new variants and the NHS are coping well including deaths. If all are satisfactory, we will move further along the path but if one or more of these parameters are not right, we will have to wait longer to go to the next step.

A variety of demonstrations and marches are planned for the holiday weekend. However passionate you feel my strong advice is to support from home this time. All organisers should have submitted plans to steward the events and to do a Covid risk assessment. The police are reaching the end of their tolerance and will be ready to enforce the law if they have to. Rent-a-mob are likely to turn out to promote anarchy rather than demonstrate. Stay well away from Finsbury Park. If things boil over it is most likely we may see rioting. I have seen it happen many times before.

A human error in Baltimore has led to the wasting of millions of doses of the new Johnson and Johnson vaccine. It was another quality control issue and shows the importance of continued batch by batch surveillance.

From 4am next Friday 9th April the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Kenya have been added to the UK Red list. Any one travelling from or transiting through those countries will be banned from entering the UK unless they are UK or Irish Citizens in which case, they have to go into Government controlled quarantine for 14 days.

This is the state of play tonight. It’s a stay at home, stay quiet Easter for most of us.

Let us know if you have ideas for home entertainment. Please feel free to comment on the many controversies around.

Take it each day at a time remembering the basic rules, stay vigilant and keep safe.

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