As things stand at the moment only 8 countries are likely to get a green traffic light after May 17th when the international traffic restrictions are due to be reviewed. Those countries are the USA; Gibraltar; Israel; Iceland; Ireland; Malta; Australia and New Zealand.
Almost all EU countries would be on the amber list meaning quarantine at home for 10 days would be required. on return to the UK.
This will mean difficult choices for the Government as they balance competing influences and other political demands. Just how much concession to the travel industry can be tolerated.
Whilst here in the UK our minds are fixed on coming out of lockdown soon we must be mindful of the dire warnings still coming from the WHO that across the globe the number of new cases being seen has doubled in the last two months and is close to the record number seen in this pandemic.
The WHO has particularly drawn the worlds attention to Papua and New Guinea were there are currently 9,300 cases and 82 deaths. In response there are 3 medical teams on route one each from the USA, Australia and Germany. There is little understanding of public health issues including the wearing of masks. They will have to do a lot of health education as well as mass immunisations.
There have been now just over 3 million deaths across the world from Covid 19 since this pandemic began. It is certainly a huge number, but remember in 1918 as the world was recovering from a devastating war a further 50 million people died of influenza in 1918 and 1919. Go back even further in history and some of the worst plague pandemics were responsible for 200 million deaths.
The manufacturers of Moderna vaccine have warned that deliveries to the UK will have to be reduced following technical issues in mass production. That did not seem to prevent us giving over 600,000 jabs yesterday as we aim to immunise the whole adult population as quickly as possible.
The Indian Covid 19 variant is causing some concern in the scientific community. Officially the variant has not been labelled as of concern, it remains at the lower level of interest. Its activity and spread are being watch extremely carefully. As yet vaccines seem to be effective but if it changes there could be major difficulties.
In Brazil, where they are also facing a surge in new cases there is some concern, although I have not been able to verify it, that it may cause a disproportionate number of pregnant women to catch the disease. The Brazilian Authorities have strongly advised women thinking of becoming pregnant to avoid doing so for the time being. Can you imagine the outcry in the UK if people were told to delay pregnancies.
I might have hoped that teachers would have some idea of simple statistics and the concept of risk. In nice, in France, about 3,000 teachers were invited yesterday to a mass vaccine facility set up to try and get teachers protected. When they heard they were to get the OAZ vaccine only 58 turned up. The rest refused to have it. The centre has been closed today but now plans to reopen tomorrow to offer a different vaccine. The French Regulator and the WHO continue to say the benefits far outweigh the risks. The French President’s misguided remark about the OAZ vaccine as only quasi effective certainly has not helped.
Today’s statistics show great progress with the vaccine, we are closing in on 10 million second doses. The figures are 1st doses 32.84 million doses given and 2nd doses 9.93 million doses given.
Almost 10,000 tests were done on 18th April and 1,882 were positive yesterday. This is a drop of 2.8% in the last 7 days and the rate of positive tests is 28.1 per 100k.
Deaths have fallen to just 10 but it is a Sunday. A 27% drop in the last week and the rate is 0.2/per 100k of the population.
Hospital data shows only 2,186 were in hospital on 15 April with Covid. With 179 new admissions and only 332 are being treated on a ventilator.
We know there is an enormous backlog for day case procedures to be done. Procedures such as bronchoscopies which can cause aerosol spraying have not happened at all for a whole year. The NHS need to begin to publish waiting list details as the NHS staff turn their minds to clearing this back log safely.
Remember compared to the rest of the world our progress is one of the best. We now have to finish immunising everybody as quickly as possible. Remember not to risk spread by remembering social distancing and wearing masks. Then we have to help immunise the rest of the world before variants can get a hold. We are not going to be safe till the whole world is safe.
So lets just get on with it.
Do stay safe as you go about it.