An interesting study from Northern Ireland suggests only 1 case in 1,000 Covid infections are caught outdoors. The figures were 262 in 232,164 cases. The summary does not indicate how it was determined exactly where each case was caught so it limits its evidential value. We do however know it’s much easier to catch it when indoors. Right back in the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic people realised that if walking outside the best way to avoid infection is to walk side by side rather than one behind another. Just watch where someone smoking a cigarette is walking near you and watch how the smoke moves away.
From Monday April 12th we in England move to the next stage relaxing our restrictions. All shops will reopen in a Covid safe way. Similarly, hairdressers, nail salons, zoos and theme parks can reopen. (In Scotland all shops do not open until 26thApril).
Pubs, restaurants etc are open for outdoors only. Customers are being asked to pay in cash as many card readers were found not to work well in the open air.
Self-catering for one household and camp sites can reopen but not B and Bs and hotels yet. Gyms can reopen but only for people alone or in household bubbles.
15 people can attend a wedding and up to 30 a funeral from Monday.
France have announced through Olivier Veran, their Health Minister, that those under the age of 55 who have had a first OAZ vaccine should be given a 2nd jab from a producer of the mRNA type vaccine. There are only two approved so far, Pfizer and Moderna. The Health Minister said the precautions could further evolve with time. The French prioritised their vaccine differently to the UK giving top priority to health care workers. This means many under the age of 55 have had the OAZ vaccine. Dr Veram is aged 41 and is a neurologist. He had the OAZ vaccine himself live on television. He said we need to learn a lot more about the vaccines.
The WHO still advises not to mix different vaccines unless absolutely necessary but has called for more careful review of the mixing vaccine being used.
In another change of approach, Spain have changed their policy on wearing facemasks on the beach. This is to try and boost the holiday and tourist industries. It seems complex but as far as I can make out if you remain still, sitting or lying on the sands as in sunbathing, provided you are more than 2 metres from anyone else you do not need a mask. If you are walking or running on the beach you do need to wear one. You need not wear one while swimming.
We are still banned from having a holiday there any way until at least 17th May.
Foreign travel is likely to be very costly when it first restarts. Be careful to allow for the costs in your budgeting or you risk embarrassing financial hardships. We are due to hear more about this soon. There is likely to be traffic light type arrangements with different rules for each colour. In red areas for example, compulsory quarantine in hotels will be mandatory and cost over £1,700 each. Then there will be between 3-5 PCR covid tests at about £100 per test. In Amber areas quarantine is still required but may be at home. 3-4 PCR tests are required. In Green areas you will still need a test before and 2 tests after travelling at £100 a test. This means for a couple to have a long weekend holiday but without hotel quarantine you could be adding a £1000 to the costs, probably as much as the holiday. You have been warned! The EU vaccine Tsar has said that AZ have agreed that all but one batch of its vaccine made in the Netherlands will go to EU member states until the company fulfil the EU contract. Paris police have fined over 100 diners last night who were breaking Covid rules in a late-night meal in an underground restaurant.
Iran began a 10-day lockdown today as there was growing evidence of a new wave of infection. Most shops are closed and offices only allowed to open at 25% capacity. Major cities like Tehran have been declared red zones where there are the most severe restrictions. The serge in cases follows a two-week holiday with thousands flocking to the shores of the Caspian Sea. Iran has a population of 84 million and only 200,000 immunisations given. Covax are sending a further 700,000 doses on Monday. With there being nearly 20,000 cases a day at present they will need many more doses.
In England a new variant to look out for is a Nigerian strain that has been labelled B1525. So far 344 cases have been found in the UK with a further 37 in the last week. It is only classified at the moment as under investigation. This could become of concern if there is a rapid rise in cases. All the track and trace services are at work on it.
Silverstone, home of the British Grand Prix in mid-July is keen to trial Covid certification to allow fans to attend. Up to 25% of the normal number could be allowed, to ensure social distancing can be maintained.
In Florida, a shopper has been jailed for 30 days, given a $500 fine, probation for six months a mental health assessment and ordered to take an anger management course. She had deliberately coughed at a fellow shopper.
In the statistics tonight; Vaccines continue to progress almost 6million, 5.99 million 2nd doses and 30.01 million 1st doses which are largely paused, to catch up.
931,579 tests were done yesterday with 2,589 positive tests today. The number positive continues to fall by 32% in the last 7 day rolling average. The positive rate is 30.7/100k of the population. There were 40 deaths reported today. The rate remains at 0.3/100k of the population. 2,862 people were in hospital with Covid 19 with 221 more admitted on 6th April and 406 required treatment on a ventilator.
The statistics all seem satisfactory, the numbers being fully vaccinated continues to rise although there is concern about restarting with the younger age cohorts. The UK seems settled in its plans to emerge from lockdown on time and on course. Globally, the situation is far from calm as you can see from news around the world tonight. Covid variants are keeping us all on out toes but no serious concerns at present. Please just keep following the rules. We can relax a little more but please avoid large crowds. Please keep well away from Royal Homes. Pay your respects online and or by making charitable donations to a charity close to the Prince or to you.
Keep all the Royal family in your thoughts and or prayers and stay safe.