#AceHealthReport- Aug.03: On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wanted a “simple” and “balanced approach” to pandemic travel: The sources said no new categories would now be added.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says that accouroing to BBC Travel Sources #COVID19 Amber watchlist travel idea will be scrapped as BBC News also breaking news reports that airlines and travelcompanies will take more precautions to protect passengers more later?
What are the traffic light system rules? See below: The next update to the travel list system is due on Thursday…….
Tory MPs and travel industry figures earlier warned a complex system risked putting people off from travelling.
The government had been considering the idea of a new level in the government’s traffic light system for overseas travel, ahead of the next review this week.
It would have warned people when a destination was at risk of a sudden shift from amber to red – meaning that travel would be banned for everyone except UK nationals and residents, who would be required to quarantine in a hotel on their return.
As opposition to the proposal gathered, Mr Johnson said he wanted to prevent new coronavirus variants entering the UK, though he recognised the desire to go abroad.
“We also have to recognise that people want, badly, to go on their summer holidays, we need to get the travel industry moving again, we need to get our city centres open again and so we want an approach that is as simple as we can possibly make it,” he said.”We must stop importing variants from abroad”
The travel industry reacted with relief at the news that the watchlist would not go ahead.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of the air travel industry body Airlines UK, said: “This is a victory for common sense. The PM has hit the nail on the head – people want a clear and consistent travel system that they can understand and that is workable.” He urged the government to go further and include more countries on the green list, exempting them from quarantine requirements.
Labour said scrapping the watchlist idea showed the Tories were “in total chaos” over their pandemic borders policy.
Green country: When returning from a country on the green list you must take a Covid-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result. You also need to book a test for day two after your returnAmber country: A Covid test is needed three days before returning, and a PCR test two days after arriving. People who are not fully vaccinated in the approved countries need to self-isolate for 10 days, although this can be shortened for people in England by using the Test to Release scheme – paying for a test on day five
Red country: Regardless of your vaccination status you must take a test before departure and, on arrival, self-isolate for 10 days in a government-approved quarantine hotelShadow transport secretary Jim McMahon called on the government to publish the data behind its decisions and provide “maximum clarity” to passengers and the travel industry.He said clear information about what was happening with infections in each country was needed to build confidence about travel.Mr McMahon said: “Not only have ministers failed to protect our borders, allowing the Delta variant to reach the UK in such force, but time and time again they’ve refused to be straight with the public and industry.”
Earlier, the idea had also faced opposition from the Conservative benches, with Huw Merriman, chairman of the Commons Transport Committee, telling the BBC that an amber watch-list would be a “massive red flag” that would cause travel bookings to collapse.Others said increasingly complex travel rules would put the UK at a competitive disadvantage compared to other nations which were more open for international travel.Mr Merriman later welcomed the scrapping of the amber watchlist, saying: “To deliver confidence and stability, the traffic light system needs to be red, amber and green, and nothing in between.”The government already has a green watchlist, which features more than half the countries on the green list and signals they are at risk of moving to amber.
#AceHealthReport – July.28: A review of the border rules is due by 31 July – the second date in the Department for Transport’s plan for a safe return to international travel.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says #COVID19 Travel: Fully jabbed from EU and US could avoid quarantine as ministers discuss with airlines on best way forward as U.S and E.U do not have an open border policy with rise in cases and lower vaccination rates than U.K. …as sources said the isolation exemption was likely to be discussed at the Covid Operations meeting on Wednesday over 31st July review of border rules….but todays cases are these below for 28/07/21 …
But they said a decision on whether to proceed will not necessarily be taken.
Currently, people who have been fully vaccinated in the UK do not have to quarantine when travelling from the US and EU, apart from France, because those places are on the amber list (and some EU countries are on the green list). But that exemption does not apply to people who have been vaccinated outside the UK.
Downing Street and the Department for Transport declined to comment on newspaper reports the government would go ahead with the plan to also exempt people vaccinated in the US and EU.
The travel industry has been pushing for this change in the rules so that people living abroad can more easily come to the UK for holidays or to visit loved ones.
“At the moment we’re in this slightly ridiculous situation where if I’m on a plane from Spain, because I’m lucky enough to have had two jabs, once we get to the UK I just wander off, no problem,” said travel expert Simon Calder.
“But the person sitting next to me, who happens to have had their vaccinations in Spain, not in the UK, has to go and sit in a room for 10 days. Doesn’t make sense.”
The aviation industry is also calling for a change after carrying out a 10-day trial of checking the vaccination status of passengers.
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Heathrow Airport wanted to demonstrate that vaccination status could be checked away from the border and allow safe entry to the UK from countries on the amber list.
The companies said 99% of documents were verified correctly during the trial, which involved about 250 fully-vaccinated participants from the US, the Caribbean and Europe, travelling to Heathrow.
Two passengers had their credentials rejected, the companies said: one because their vaccination was completed less than 14 days before travel, and the other because of a discrepancy between the name on the passport and on the vaccine card.
The relaxation of the quarantine rules for travellers into England from the EU and the US is backed by a broad coalition of government ministers, who see the benefits to the tourism industry and the economy in general. “There’s no reason not to do this,” said one advisor. Another warned that an airline could go bankrupt if it didn’t happen.
A decision may be imminent but it may take days or weeks to put it into practice. For example, airlines will need time to prepare because they’ll be the ones checking the documents.
And the recent creation of an “amber plus” category at the last minute and without the knowledge of some members of the government shows that sometimes the process doesn’t always go smoothly.
Then there’s travel in the other direction, with the US in no rush to allow in British travellers despite the high-profile launch of a transatlantic travel taskforce last month. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Heathrow Airport said the UK was falling behind the EU in opening up to international travellers.
BA chief executive Sean Doyle said the trial provides the evidence that the government needs to allow fully vaccinated visitors from low-risk countries to come to the UK without self-isolating.
Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye said there was “no reason to delay with rolling out the solution from July 31”, while the head of EasyJet told LBC such a change was “the right thing” but a “little bit too late”.Freddie Julius runs tour company Tourist England which puts on trips for overseas visitors. He said around 80% of his customers are from the US and EU and “over the last 18 months we’ve seen almost none”.
Tourist EnglandTourist England said a rule change was critical for the revival of the travel sectorHe said changing the rules to allow vaccinated tourists to visit without quarantining was “critical for the revival of the inbound tourism sector”.But he told the BBC any change needed to be lasting, adding: “
The constant easing and tightening of restrictions have made it almost impossible to plan ahead, both for tour companies and tourists.” However, even if the UK changed its rules for the US, its citizens have been urged not to travel to the UK by the country’s health protection agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the US border is currently closed to the UK, as well as many other countries, except for US citizens.
The vast majority of countries, including the US and many European countries including Spain, Italy and Germany, are on the amber list. Adults who have been fully vaccinated in the UK, and under-18s who are UK residents, no longer have to self-isolate after visiting any amber country apart from France. But anyone who was fully vaccinated outside the UK still has to quarantine for 10 days on arrival, or pay for the test-to-release scheme to shorten their quarantine.
#AceHealthReport – July.23: Regulations will be laid in Parliament that will require medium and large businesses, including those with 50 or more employees, to phase out their offering of multibuy promotions such as “buy one get one free” or “3 for 2” offers on HFSS products.
#AceHealthDesk reports on Promotions of unhealthy foods that followed a consultation with industry, the government will restrict unhealthy food promotions in stores from October 2022….including ‘ buy-one-get-one-free or 3 for 2 on HFSS products….
Restrictions will apply to medium and large retailers
Measures form a key part of the government’s strategy to tackle obesity and get the nation fit and healthy
Less healthy promotions will also no longer be featured in key locations, such as checkouts, store entrances, aisle ends and their online equivalents. Free refills of sugary soft drinks will also be prohibited in the eating-out sector.
Today’s announcement follows consultation with industry and the government has considered industry’s feedback and has made the decision to extend the implementation date of this policy – from April 2022 to October 2022 – to allow businesses enough time to prepare for these restrictions.
The government will continue to work with businesses, trade associations and local authorities to ensure they are supported in implementing the new requirements ahead of them coming into force. This will include sharing draft guidance with industry and local authorities to provide further clarity on how these restrictions will need to be implemented in practice.
As part of the regulations, the government will provide local authorities with the option of issuing civil penalties for non-compliance with the promotions restrictions.
These measures will support people in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and improve the nation’s health. Over 25 years, these measures are estimated to accrue combined health benefits of approximately £60 million, according to the value that society places on changes in the quality and length of people’s lives as a result of fewer cases of obesity. They will make supermarkets and other retailers places where the healthier choice is the easy choice for everyone and support people to lead healthier lives.
Public Health Minister Jo Churchill, said:
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the impact that an unhealthy weight can have on people’s health. We know families want the healthy choice to be the easy choice, and restricting promotions on unhealthy foods will help them achieve this.
We want to support everyone to eat healthier foods more regularly and this starts with helping supermarkets and manufacturers promote healthier food choices lower or free from HFSS, to support families to make healthier choices.
These restrictions will come into force from October 2022. I look forward to working together with everyone to ensure that for families a healthy option is the easy option when shopping.
Obesity is one of the biggest health crises the country faces as almost two-thirds (63%) of adults in England are overweight or living with obesity and 1 in 3 children leave primary school overweight or obese. Obesity-related illnesses cost the NHS £6 billion a year.
Further action as part of the government’s obesity strategy to get the nation fit and healthy will see the introduction of mandatory calorie labelling in restaurants, cafes and takeaways from April 2022 and restrictions for the advertising of HFSS products being shown on TV before 9pm and online coming into force at the end of 2022.
There is a two-stage process to define what products are captured by the promotions restrictions. This two-step process ensures the restrictions apply to the products of most concern to childhood obesity whilst allowing the healthiest products within categories to be excluded. First the products will only be subject to the restrictions if they are in a narrowed set of categories listed in regulations. If a product falls into one of these categories, then the second stage is to apply the 2004/05 Nutrient profiling Model (NPM). If a food products scores 4 or above or a drink product scores 1 or above it will be considered as HFSS and not able to be promoted.
The government’s Impact Assessment for the promotions policy can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/restricting-promotions-of-food-and-drink-that-is-high-in-fat-sugar-and-salt
#AceHealthReport – July.22: NHS staff including nurses, paramedics, consultants, and dentists in England will receive a 3% pay rise backdated to April 2021 after the government accepted the recommendations of the independent NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) and the Review Body for Doctors’ and Dentists’ Renumeration (DDRB).
Government accepts recommendations of NHS independent pay review bodies in full for this year
3% pay rise for NHS staff including nurses, paramedics, consultants, dentists and salaried GPs
NHS staff recognised for their pandemic contribution during an unprecedented year
For the average nurse, this will mean an additional £1,000 a year, while many porters and cleaners will receive around £540.
The government committed to providing NHS staff with a pay uplift in recognition of the unique impact of the pandemic on the NHS.
The independent pay review bodies considered a range of evidence from organisations including government, the NHS and trade unions in order to reach their recommendations.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:
NHS staff are rightly receiving a pay rise this year despite the wider public sector pay pause, in recognition of their extraordinary efforts. We asked the independent pay review bodies for their recommendations and I’m pleased to accept them in full, with a 3% pay rise for all staff in scope, from doctors and nurses to paramedics and porters.
We will back the NHS as we focus our efforts on getting through this pandemic and tackling the backlog of other health problems that has built up. I will continue to do everything I can to support all those in our health service who are working so tirelessly to care for patients.
Minister for Care Helen Whately said:
I am determined to make the NHS the best place to work for all our staff and we continue to invest in recruitment and retention with over 45,300 more staff in the NHS now compared to a year ago, including nearly 9,000 more nurses and over 4,000 more doctors.
Our NHS staff have worked incredibly hard to fight the pandemic for over eighteen months and I’m glad to confirm we are accepting the pay review bodies’ recommendations in full this year, so staff in their remit will receive a 3% pay rise.
In addition, salaried GPs’ recommended minimum and maximum pay will be uplifted by 3% whilst dental contracts will be uplifted to account for the 3% uplift for dentists.
The reports will be laid before Parliament at 9:30am tomorrow morning (22 July).
The pay rise will be backdated to April 2021.
Nurses at the top of band 5 currently earn a salary of £30,600.
The DDRB were not asked to make pay recommendations for those Specialty and Associate Specialist (SAS) doctors who have transferred over to the new SAS contract, or doctors and dentists in training, as these groups are in respective multi-year pay and contract reform deals.
The SAS deal offers doctors faster progression to the top of the pay scales with meaningful increases at each progression point. The introduction of a new senior SAS grade improves opportunities for career progression. The agreement also introduces safeguards and additional annual leave to support health and wellbeing.
GPs are subject to a five-year investment agreement (to 2023/24) between NHSEI and the British Medical Association (BMA) and therefore no pay recommendation has been sought for GP contractors.
Dentists will receive a 3% uplift. This is in addition to reduced requirements on the activity they deliver for full payment of their contract, minus agreed deductions, that have been in place throughout and a renewed commitment to reforming the NHS dental contract.
Uplifts to dentists will be passed on via an uplift to their contract value.
Health spending and public sector pay is a devolved responsibility and it is up to each respective country to determine how they respond to the Pay Review Bodies and what pay uplift to provide for staff.
#AceHealthReport – July.21: The veterinarian, 53, suffered severe nausea and a fever two months after dissecting two monkeys at a breeding research institute in Beijing and died on May 27, according to the Washington Post……
#AceDailyNewssays China first human case of Monkey B virus after veterinarian’s death who has become the first person in the country to contract and die of the extremely rare virus according to Chinese officials who said last weekend, according to reports
The Monkey B virus, also known as the Herpes B virus, usually comes from contact with a macaque monkey and can cause severe brain damage or death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The virus attacks the central nervous system and has about an 80% fatality rate if untreated, the Post reported, citing infectious disease expert Kentaro Iwata of Japan’s Kobe University.
The CDC says there is only one documented case of the virus spreading from person to person.
A U.S. resident who had visited Nigeria was diagnosed with monkeypox last week after returning to Texas, according to the CDC.
Monkeypox is a completely different virus – it causes flu-like symptoms and a rash and is linked to smallpox – but both viruses can be contracted through contact with animals.
After the Chinese veterinarian’s blood and saliva samples tested positive for Monkey B virus, two of his colleagues tested negative, according to the Post.
The virus was first detected in 1932 and since there have been fewer than 100 diagnosed human cases, the newspaper reported.
American primate researcher Elizabeth R. Griffin died in 1997 at 22 years old six weeks after a macaque monkey threw infected liquid into her eye. Griffin’s infection was preventable and her diagnosis and treatment were delayed, her biography on the Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation’s website says.
Her family later founded the organization in her honor, which focuses on prevention through biosafety training.
Chinese health authorities said it’s necessary to “strengthen surveillance in laboratory macaques and occupational workers,” the Post reported.
#AceHealthReport – July.17: From September 2021, providers will offer the flu vaccine to over 35 million people during the upcoming winter season, including all secondary school students up to Year 11 for the first time. This builds on the success of last year’s expanded flu programme, which saw a record number of people get their jab.
#AceHealthDesk reports that GOVUK Launches Biggest flu programme in history to be rolled out for winter 2021: Free seasonal flu vaccine to be made available for over 35 million people this year see details below?
Millions more people could benefit from a free flu vaccine this year, as the Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid announces the most comprehensive flu vaccination programme in UK history today
School programme expanded to provide flu vaccine to all secondary school pupils up to Year 11
Expanded programme follows record 19 million seasonal flu jabs administered in winter 2020
Last year, 4 in 5 (80.9%) people aged 65 and over in England received their flu vaccine – exceeding the World Health Organization uptake ambition of 75%.
Working with the NHS, the government is preparing to deliver the expanded flu programme alongside any booster programme for COVID-19 vaccines as part of wider autumn and winter planning, which centres around protecting as many lives as possible.
During the 2021/22 season, which starts in September, the flu jab will be available to:
all children aged two and three on 31 August 2021
all children in primary school and all children in school Years 7 to 11 in secondary school
those aged six months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups
those aged 50 years and over
close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
frontline health and adult social care staff
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said:
Flu can be a serious illness and we want to build a wall of protection by immunising a record number of people.
With the nation getting closer to normal life, we must learn to live with COVID-19 alongside other viruses and we’re offering the free flu jab to millions more people to help keep them safe this winter.
The phenomenal scale of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is a clear demonstration of the positive impact vaccination can make and I encourage all those eligible to get their flu jab when called forward.
The enlarged flu drive will build on last year’s expanded flu programme, where flu vaccinations opened up to 50 to 64-year-olds and year 7 pupils for the first time, with the aim of offering protection to as many eligible people as possible.
For frontline healthcare workers and two and three-year olds, the highest ever recorded levels of flu vaccine uptake were also achieved last year. This year, all frontline health and social care workers will be offered the flu vaccination again to ensure they, and the people they care for, are protected.
Eligible groups are urged to get their free vaccine every year and to protect themselves and the most vulnerable people in society ahead of the winter.
As a result of non-pharmaceutical interventions in place for COVID-19 – such as mask-wearing, physical and social distancing, and restricted international travel – flu levels were lower than expected across the world in 2020/21. It is possible there will be higher levels of flu this winter, with more of the population susceptible given the low levels last season. The flu vaccine offers the best available protection against the virus and the public can reduce the spread of flu and other winter bugs by regularly washing hands, throwing away used tissues and practising good hygiene.
Alongside this flu drive, the government is preparing for a booster programme of COVID-19 vaccines and the Joint Committee on Vaccination (JCVI) and Immunisation has published interim advice on who would be prioritised for a possible third vaccine from September 2021. The booster programme – which would be designed to ensure millions of people most vulnerable to COVID-19 continue to have the protection they need ahead of the winter and against new variants – will be informed by the JCVI’s final advice expected later this summer based on the very latest scientific data.
The Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and Improvement, and Public Health England have today issued the 2021/22 annual flu letter to providers, setting out plans for this year’s expanded programme. This blueprint will ensure GP practices, pharmacies and school-based providers are mobilised to begin administering flu vaccines from September.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director at Public Health England, said:
The flu vaccine is safe, effective and protects millions of people each year from what can be a devastating illness.
Last winter, flu activity was extremely low, but this is no reason for complacency as it means less people have built up a defence against the virus. Combined with the likelihood that COVID-19 will still be circulating, this makes the coming flu season highly unpredictable.
We will be preparing for a challenging winter by expanding our world-leading flu vaccination programme to over 35 million people, saving more lives and limiting the impact on the NHS and social care.
Dr Nikita Kanani, NHS medical director for primary care, said:
NHS staff across England vaccinated record numbers of people against flu last year – a potentially fatal illness – and they continue to pull out all the stops to deliver the biggest and most successful NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme in health history, protecting their patients and communities.
Getting your free flu vaccine if you are eligible as well as keeping up good habits like regularly washing your hands could help save your life, so please do come forward when you are invited to give you and your loved ones vital protection this winter.
The childhood flu programme aims to protect children and contain the spread of the virus to babies and vulnerable adults they may be in contact with. The nasal spray vaccine is offered to 2 and 3-year-olds and children in primary school and Year 7 and, for the first time this year, secondary school aged children up to Year 11.
Measures for arrivals from France will remain in place from 19 July
Arrivals from France must continue to quarantine in their own accommodation for 10 days and complete a day 2 and day 8 test, regardless of vaccination status
From Monday 19 July, UK residents arriving from amber countries who are fully vaccinated will no longer have to quarantine, although they will still need to comply with necessary testing requirements. However, this will not apply to France following the persistent presence of cases in France of the Beta variant, which was first identified in South Africa.
Anyone who has been in France in the last 10 days will need to quarantine on arrival to England in their own accommodation and will need a Day 2 and Day 8 test, regardless of their vaccination status. This includes any fully vaccinated individual who transits through France from either a green or another amber country to reach England. The Test to Release scheme remains an option for travellers to shorten their quarantine period should they test negative after day 5.
Some operators may make specific arrangements compliant with the public health regulations that allow for transit without quarantine, for example those travelling by train from Belgium, so travellers should check with their operator.
Public health remains the government’s top priority. It has been clear that swift action will be taken on travel list allocations should the data show that a country’s risk to England has changed, including France.
While current cases of the Beta variant in France are not high enough to require arrivals to enter managed quarantine, it is important to consider the potential detection and transmission risk in light of the current situation in England. As a precautionary measure to protect the gains made in the UK’s vaccination programme, and as the country unlocks, anyone arriving from France to England will continue to quarantine for 10 days from early Monday morning, while we continue to assess the latest data and track prevalence of the Beta variant.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:
We have always been clear that we will not hesitate to take rapid action at our borders to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the gains made by our successful vaccination programme.
With restrictions lifting on Monday across the country, we will do everything we can to ensure international travel is conducted as safely as possible, and protect our borders from the threat of variants.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
Travel will be different this year and whilst we are committed to continuing to open up international travel safely, our absolute priority is to protect public health here in the UK.
We urge everyone thinking about going abroad this summer to check their terms and conditions as well as the travel restrictions abroad before they go.
UK Health Security Agency Chief Executive Dr Jenny Harries said:
As we ease restrictions and begin making our way back to a normal life, it’s more vital than ever that we listen to the data and act decisively when it changes.
While vaccines are helping us turn the tables against this virus, we need to continue to proceed cautiously. That means maintaining our defences against new variants and protecting our hard won progress through the exceptional vaccination rollout.
For those without an exemption, these rules will continue to apply to all arrivals from France into England, including those who live and work overseas, diplomats, and participants in authorised UK COVID-19 vaccine trials, as well as those who are under the age of 18.
Before travelling to England, everyone needs to take a pre-departure test, and fill in a passenger locator form, regardless of where they are coming from. Anyone not complying with health measures could face a fine, and carriers will be required to ensure proper checks are carried out.
#AceNewsReport – July.15: The surging numbers came on the same day that International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach paid a courtesy call in Tokyo on Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga….
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – Tokyo’s #COVID19 infections reach six-month high as athletes told to put on their own Olympic medals acording to Mr Suga and Mr Bach have both pledged that the Tokyo Olympics will be “safe and secure” despite the Games opening with Tokyo and neighbouring prefectures under a government-imposed state of emergency as Health Officials reported 1,149 new cases on Wednesday, the highest since 1,184 were reported almost six months ago on January 22.
The new fiures also marked the 25th straight day that cases were higher than they were a week earlier.
Mr Suga asked Mr Bach to ensure that the Olympics will be safe, particularly for the Japanese public, of which fewer than 20 per cent are fully vaccinated.
“To gain the understanding of our people, and also for the success of the Tokyo 2020 Games, it is absolutely necessary that all participants take appropriate actions and measures including countermeasures against the pandemic,” Mr Suga told Mr Bach.
“As the host of the Games, I do hope that the IOC will make the efforts so that all athletes and stakeholders will fully comply with these measures.”
Mr Bach replied: “We’d like to reaffirm all our commitment on the side of the Olympic community to do everything, that we do not bring any risks to the Japanese people.”
He said almost 100 per cent of IOC members and IOC staff were “vaccinated or immune.” The IOC also says between 70-80 per cent of international medical representatives were vaccinated.
The IOC and Tokyo organisers last week banned fans from all venues in Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures. A few outlying venues will allow some spectators, and fans from abroad were banned month ago.
About 11,000 athletes and tens of thousands of others will enter Japan for the Olympics. The Paralympics will add about 4,400 more athletes.
Japan has attributed about 15,000 deaths to COVID-19, a number low by many standards but not as good as most of its Asian neighbours.
The Olympic torch relay has also been pulled from Tokyo streets, with the Tokyo government fearing the relay would draw crowds and circulate the virus.
The opening ceremony is July 23 at Tokyo’s new $1.8 billion National Stadium.
Mr Bach is expected to travel Friday to Hiroshima, and his Australian vice-President John Coates to Nagasaki to use those two cities as backdrops for promoting the Games.
Olympics to be ‘well-appreciated’, IOC boss says
Mr Bach arrived in Tokyo last week and spent the first three days self-isolating in the five-star hotel that the IOC uses for its headquarters in Tokyo.
The IOC is pushing ahead with the Olympics, despite opposition in much of the Japanese medical community, partly because it is dependent for almost 75 per cent of its income on the sale of broadcasting rights.
“You have already seen in the last couple of weeks it’s changing slowly but surely,” the IOC leader told international media in a conference call.
“When the athletes finally compete this will be well-appreciated here by the Japanese people.”
Mr Bach also revealed he had doubts “every day” about the Games going ahead in the 15 months since they were postponed but to voice them would have disrupted athletes preparing to qualify and compete.
“The challenge was that you could not speak about this,” he said.
“This could or would have become a self-fulfilling prophecy. They (athletes) trusted us.”
Meanwhile, a coronavirus cluster emerged at a hotel where dozens of Brazilian Olympic team members are staying.
Seven staff at the hotel in Hamamatsu city, southwest of Tokyo, had tested positive for the coronavirus, an official said.
But a 31-strong Brazilian Olympic delegation, which includes judo athletes, are in a “bubble” in the hotel and separated from other guests and have not been infected.
The Russian women’s rugby sevens team were also in isolation after their masseur tested positive for COVID-19, the RIA news agency reported from Moscow — as was part of the South African men’s rugby team after a case on their inbound flight.
Participants to put on their own medals
In another measure aimed at preventing the the spread of COVID-19, athletes will put their medals around their own necks.
“The medals will not be given around the neck,” Mr Bach told international media on a conference call from Tokyo.
“They will be presented to the athlete on a tray and then the athlete will take the medal him or herself.”
“It will be made sure that the person who will put the medal on tray will do so only with disinfected gloves so that the athlete can be sure that nobody touched them before,” Mr Bach added.
Mr Bach confirmed that “there will be no hand shakes and there will be no hugs there during the ceremony”.
Olympic medals are typically presented by an IOC member or a leading official in a sport’s governing body.
The IOC had previously said medalists and ceremony officials would have to wear masks.
#AceHealthReport – July.07: Amid concerns over the spread of the delta variant, President Joe Biden is set to deliver remarks Tuesday afternoon about the state of his administration’s vaccination effort and the “strong progress” the U.S. has made as it nears 160 million people fully vaccinated by the week’s end, a White House official said.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – Biden will outline five areas his team is focusing on to ramp up vaccination efforts, including door-to-door outreach, a larger emphasis on sending vaccines to health care providers and pediatricians who can encourage adolescents to get shots as part of their “back to school” check-ups and expanding mobile clinics and vaccination sites for workers, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to preview the president’s address.
The remarks will come after Biden is briefed by members of his COVID-19 response team. About 157 million Americans and 58% of U.S. adults have been fully vaccinated so far, and 67% of adults have had at least one vaccine shot – falling short of Biden’s goal to have 70% of U.S. adults receive at least one jab by July 4.
– Courtney Subramanian
Also in the news:
►About 7,550 out of 19.5 million fully vaccinated Californians have contracted the coronavirus, a rate of infection of one in 2,582 that’s a testament to the vaccines’ effectiveness, according to an analysis by CalMatters of state data through June 23.
►Hundreds of Italian health care workers have sued local health authorities to avoid being suspended after they refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
►Fourteen people have been arrested in Mumbai, India, in connection with a scheme to administer fake COVID-19 vaccines to thousands of people, who actually got injected with salt water.
►Prime Minister Boris Johnson says people in England will no longer be required by law to wear face masks in indoor public spaces and to keep at least 3 feet apart as soon as July 19, the country’s so-called “Freedom Day.”
►Germany will ease strict rules on travel from Britain, Portugal, Russia, India and Nepal that were imposed because of a surge in cases from the delta variant.
📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 33.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 605,500 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 184.2 million cases and nearly 3.98 million deaths. More than 157.3 million Americans have been fully vaccinated – 47.4% of the population, according to the CDC.
📘What we’re reading: Since the beginning of the pandemic, a third of the 64 people who oversee the nation’s vaccination programs have left. In the midst of the largest vaccination effort in the country’s history, the nation lost a staggering amount of institutional knowledge. Read the full story.
In Missouri, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients jumped by nearly 30% over the Fourth of July weekend in a hard-hit area where immunization rates are low, leading to a temporary ventilator shortage and a public call for help from respiratory therapists. The delta variant, first identified in India, is spreading rapidly throughout the state, straining hospitals in Springfield and raising fresh fears that the situation could soon grow worse as holiday gatherings seed fresh cases. Missouri leads the nation with the most new cases per capita in the past 14 days; 39.4% of residents there are fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 cases in Mississippi increased by almost 15% in June. Mississippi’s fully vaccinated rate of 31% is the lowest in the nation.
“It feels very reminiscent of where we were in an early part of the pandemic,” State Epidemiologist Paul Byers said during a June 29 press conference. “It feels like we’re in the same situation now with the delta variant.”
She has received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and on Tuesday the British government said that self-isolating requirement will be scrapped Aug. 16 for those who are fully vaccinated.
The juxtaposition of the approaching end of COVID-19 restrictions in England with Prince William’s wife being confined to home for 10 days underscores one of the key messages British Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered with Monday’s announcement:
“I want to stress from the outset that this pandemic is far from over,” he said in a news conference. “It certainly won’t be over by the 19th.”
Johnson pointed out there has been a marked increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations recently, and the number of new infections could rise to 50,000 per day by July 19.
#AceHealthReport – July.04: Moments after the Prime Minister called to ask me to become Health and Social Care Secretary last Saturday night, I spoke to my teenage daughter in the kitchen: You won’t have much to sort out then, dad,’ she said sarcastically….
When I came back to Westminster on Sunday morning, I found the biggest in-tray I’ve had at any department – and I’ve run 5.
I’ve spent the last year working with Harvard University on how governments can learn from this pandemic and be better prepared for future challenges, now I’m the one faced with so many of those tough choices.
I feel both the heavy responsibility and urgency that comes with this job.
My first video call on vaccine progress had to be at the same time as the England-Germany match. It was all going well until JVT (Jonathan Van-Tam, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England) suddenly took off his headphones because he didn’t want to hear the score before he watched a recording of the match.
It was an honour to start the meeting by thanking the team who have delivered the rollout, including everyone in the NHS, the Vaccines Taskforce and the officials in my department.
Amid the endless policy memos and reams of data, I see 2 immediate challenges. The first is how we restore our freedoms and learn to live with (coronavirus) COVID-19. The second is to tackle the NHS backlog – something that we know is going to get far worse before it gets better.
We are on track for 19 July and we have to be honest with people about the fact that we cannot eliminate COVID-19.
We are going to have to learn to live with Covid and find ways to cope with it – just as we already do with flu.
We also need to be clear that cases are going to rise significantly. I know many people will be cautious about the easing of restrictions – that’s completely understandable. But no date we choose will ever come without risk, so we have to take a broad and balanced view. We are going to have to learn to accept the existence of COVID-19 and find ways to cope with it – just as we already do with flu.
The economic arguments for opening up are well known, but for me, the health arguments are equally compelling. The pandemic has hit some groups disproportionately hard. Rules that we have had to put in place have caused a shocking rise in domestic violence and a terrible impact on so many people’s mental health. All the progress we have made is thanks to the sacrifices of the British people – and our phenomenal vaccine programme. The jabs are working. The latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows that 8 in 10 UK adults have the COVID-19 antibodies that help the body fight the disease. The implications of this are huge.
Tragically, the last time we had 28,000 new cases of COVID-19 in a day, we saw about 500 people die each day. On Friday, we had almost 28,000 cases a day, but 24 times fewer people lost their lives.
There will always be the possibility that we have to deal with dangerous new variants that evade the vaccine but I encourage everyone to get their jabs now if they haven’t already done so. It is the single biggest contribution you can make to this national effort.
We have many other crucial health challenges that we need to confront. We protected the NHS to make sure it was there for everyone who needed care. The steps we took saved countless lives but also led to the build-up of a vast ‘elective’ backlog – checks, appointments and treatments for all the less urgent, but often just as important, health issues.
Because of the pandemic, we estimate that about 7 million fewer people than normal came forward for healthcare. Even if only some of that demand returns, we will see enormous pressure on the NHS.
To help meet this demand, build a better NHS and bust the backlog, we need to build on the changes we’ve all embraced through the pandemic, such as using NHS 111 to direct patients to the most appropriate setting to receive care, expanding the use of our pharmacies and encouraging more people to use the NHS app.
We have to keep doing all of that, and more.
Of course, if you are feeling unwell, you need to come forward. The NHS is always there for you – and now in many different ways.
We’re putting record levels of funding into the NHS. In March, we committed a further £7 billion of funding – including £1 billion to begin tackling the elective backlog and about £500 million for mental health services and investment in staff.
And we’re bringing so many more talented colleagues into the workforce. We have record numbers employed in the NHS, with more than 58,300 more staff in hospital and community health services since March last year, including over 5,600 more doctors and 10,800 nurses.
We’re also embracing technology to help staff spend less time on paperwork and more on patients.
It’s time to build on the spirit of innovation we’ve all embraced and use it for the other challenges we face: from finally fixing social care and putting it on a sustainable footing, to tackling the health inequalities that the pandemic has brought to the fore.
I’m determined we get that right.
There’s a lot of work ahead, but if we hold on to the spirit that has seen us through these difficult days, we will have a country that is not just freer, but healthier, too.
#AceNewsReport – July.04: Ensuring that diverse representation is better reflected all throughout our health care system is priority for the Biden-Harris administration,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, a former California attorney general who served a dozen terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. “With this funding, we will be able to train and create new opportunities for thousands of minorities long underrepresented in our public health informatics and technology fields.”
JW: U.S. Spends $80 Mil to Train Minorities to Collect Health Data with Race, Socioeconomic Inequities it is part of the Biden administration’s efforts to “root out pervasive health and socioeconomic inequities” in the nation’s healthcare system, according to an announcement issued this month by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). “
The multi-million-dollar investment will create a much-needed “pipeline of diverse professionals,” the HHS secretary added, assuring that it will help the country better prepare for “future public health emergencies.” The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated pervasive health and socioeconomic inequities, according to HHS, by, among other things, exposing gaps in the government’s public health reporting and data analysis around race and ethnicity-specific data. The administration aims to improve future public health responses in minority communities with data collection involving infection, hospitalization and mortality rates that also considers social vulnerabilities, race and ethnicity, age, gender, and other variables. “Representation is important,” Becerra said, referring to the need for diversity to tackle pressing healthcare challenges.
The new initiative is called Public Health Informatics & Technology (PHIT) Workforce Development Program and its goal is to train at least 4,000 individuals in informatics and technology and ensure the degree “programs are sustainable to create a continuous pipeline of diverse public health informatics and technology professionals.” A new curriculum will be developed focusing on topics such as data reporting that is inclusive of race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, the government funding announcement states. It will be created by working with local and state public health departments, community-based organizations, and others with “on the ground” experience dealing with pressing and critical challenged in public health informatics and technology. It is fair to assume leftist groups will be deeply involved in developing the program. To reduce “longstanding health disparities and inequities,” the administration has singled out institutions of higher learning that serve minorities—including historically black colleges and universities as well as tribal colleges Hispanic serving institutions—to receive funding priority.
It seems to be part of a broad effort that also includes local governments to prioritize the health of minorities over others. Earlier this year Judicial Watch reported that Virginia shifted its COVID-19 vaccination distribution to prioritize black and Latino residents even as desperate 85-year-olds struggled to get the shot. A few months later Maryland opened a “special clinic” exclusively for Latinos in its two largest counties to receive the vaccine. Public officials in Montgomery County, Maryland’s most populous, said the controversial initiative would help overcome inequities in the vaccine rollout as well as general health disparities that plague poor minority communities. Keep in mind that the shots were created as part of a Trump administration initiative called Operation Warp Speed to accelerate the development, production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and deliver 300 million doses to all Americans. The U.S. reportedly invested $18 billion on the project which involves several key government agencies—such as the Department of Defense (DOD), HHS and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—and private companies.
During Obama’s presidency HHS’s medical research agency, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), invested hundreds of millions of dollars to racially diversify medical fields. The money started flowing after an NIH sanctioned study determined blacks who apply for federal research grants are less likely than whites and Hispanics to receive the awards. The study took years and was conducted to “learn more about the challenges facing the scientific community,” according to the NIH’s director, and to improve the diversity of its biomedical research workforce. He called the findings “disturbing and disheartening.”
#AceHealthReport – July.03: This is the first analysis giving an estimated number of vaccine-prevented infections, providing further evidence of the staggering impact of the vaccination programme so far.
#CoronavirusNewsDeskreports that a new analysis suggests the vaccination programme has prevented between 6.4 and 7.9 million infections and 26,000 and 28,000 deaths in England alone in the latest modelling analysis from Public Health England (PHE) and the University of Cambridge’s MRC Biostatistics Unit suggests that the coronavirus #COVID19 vaccination programme has so far prevented an estimated 7.2 million infections and 27,000 deaths in England alone.
These findings remind us once again why getting both doses of your vaccine is the most important thing you can do to stop the spread of this terrible disease.
As well as preventing the deaths of tens of thousands from COVID-19, for the first time we can now appreciate the huge impact that the vaccines have had on stopping people getting infected, and therefore passing the virus on to others.
The results were produced using the PHE and Cambridge real-time pandemic surveillance model, looking at the direct and indirect impact of the COVID-19 vaccination programme on infections and mortality.
The total was calculated by comparing the estimated impact of vaccination on infection and mortality against a worst-case scenario where no vaccines were in place to reduce infections and mortality.
Dr Paul Birrell, Senior Research Associate at the MRC Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge and Senior Principal Modeller at PHE, said:
The number of infections and deaths saved by the vaccination programme is not only astoundingly high, but continues to grow exponentially as the vaccination programme continues.
In practice, this analysis highlights that the vaccination programme has given us a path back towards a normal life that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible. This is why it’s so important that we all get 2 doses of the vaccine as soon as we can.
#AceHealthReport – July.01: The president announced new restrictions to stem the rise in cases: These include extending a night-time curfew and stopping movement between the country’s regions: Addressing the nation, Mr Geingob said that 513 Namibians had died from the virus in the last 15 days.
This is a huge blow for a country of just 2.5 million.
South Africa, which has the continent’s highest number of total deaths from coronavirus – just over 60,000 – has a daily death rate of three per million.
Everyone in Namibia has either buried a close relative who has died from Covid or knows someone who has, said the health minister, who was speaking after the president.
“Our country is literally in an existential struggle against this pandemic. We are in a fight for our very lives,” Dr Shangula added.
Coronavirus cases have trebled since the beginning of June and the situation is likely to continue to get worse until mid-August at the earliest, the president told Namibians.
Hospital capacity has been increased and the country is taking steps to boost the supply of medical oxygen. Last week, Dr Shangula told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme that the country’s oxygen reserves had been exhausted………….Less than 5% of Namibians have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine…………The vials that the country received have almost all been used up but more deliveries are expected in July and August, the health minister said.The country has now set aside $34m (£25m) to buy more doses……..Grim game of dominos.
Samantha Granville, BBC News, Windhoek: Walking around the capital, Windhoek, I see a tale of two cities. Half of the people I encounter are conscientious about hygiene and social distancing, while the other half act as though the virus doesn’t exist. And even though the government has implemented restrictions, there’s some confusion. You have to use sanitiser before going into the shops, but there is no limit on how many people can enter. You can’t buy or be served alcohol in shops or cafes on certain days, unless the restaurant is in a hotel. So these rules are baffling some and they are getting worried. I spoke to one woman whose family lost six members in the past two weeks, leaving her and her two-year-old nephew alone. She says the virus is treating her community like a game of dominos: once one person is knocked down, you are just waiting for your time.Another man told me he doesn’t believe the vaccine will actually work, despite scientific evidence that it does. He is refusing to let his family get the shot, even though he knows several people who have died from the virus.While there are mixed feelings on how to stop the spread of the virus in Namibia’s capital, one thing is for sure: people are angry about further lockdown restrictions and wish the government would have done more, sooner.
#AceHealthReport – July.01: Indonesia’s #COVID19 surge is on the edge of a “catastrophe” as the more infectious Delta variant dominates transmission and chokes hospitals in South-East Asia’s worst epidemic, the Red Cross says.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – Red Cross says Indonesia close to ‘catastrophe’ as #COVID19 Delta variant causes case surge and oxygen shortage and health dept has reported record daily infections of more than 20,000 in recent days, in a new wave of infections fuelled by the emergence of highly transmissible virus variants and increased mobility after the Muslim fasting month.
“Every day we are seeing this Delta variant driving Indonesia closer to the edge of a COVID-19 catastrophe,” said Jan Gelfand, head of the Indonesian delegation of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
As cases surge, oxygen prices in Indonesia’s capital more than doubled, and some suppliers reported shortages on Tuesday.
With hospitals filling up in Jakarta and patients being turned away, some people sought to secure oxygen for infected family members at home.
The price for a tank of oxygen had jumped to $US140 ($185) from the usual $66, suppliers said.
“I’m queuing here now to refill oxygen for my wife and son who are now positive with COVID-19,” said Taufik Hidayat.
“I went around and it all was sold out.”
Sellers in others areas of Jakarta told Reuters their stocks had also dried up.
But Sulung Mulia Putra, an official at Jakarta’s health agency, said a shortage at hospitals was temporary and due to distribution issues that were being resolved.
“Distributors don’t have enough transport so hospitals will be helped by the police, parks agency and Red Cross to transport oxygen,” he said.
“Hospitals are full because of the case surge caused by mobility and loosening health protocol adherence, worsened also by the Delta variant,” said senior health ministry official Siti Nadia Tarmizi, when asked about the IFRC’s assessment.
The Delta variant was first identified in India and has been blamed for big spikes in infections in many countries.
Indonesia is banking on mass vaccinations as a means of tackling the virus, but only 13.3 million of the 181.5 million targeted for inoculation have received the required two doses since January.
Indonesia’s Health Minister is leading a push for stricter controls as infections surge to unprecedented levels, sources familiar with government discussions have told Reuters.
Citing unnamed sources, The Straits Times newspaper on Tuesday reported the government will tighten restrictions starting on Wednesday, prohibiting restaurant dining and requiring negative tests for domestic air travel.
Asked for confirmation of that, the health ministry said: “Wait for the official announcement.”
#AceHealthReport – July.01: Minister tells England fans not to travel to Italy for Euro quarter-finals: Roughly 400 of these fans were at Wembley to see the game, while the others watched from elsewhere in the English capital.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – #COVID19 Scotland game in London linked to rise in cases as Downing Street warns England fans against Rome trip as they have to self-isolate for 5-days meaning they will miss the match with almost 1,300 people in Scotland tested positive for coronavirus after travelling to London to watch a Euro 2020 match, Public Health Scotland (PHS) has confirmed according to the Independent today….
Fans have been urged not to travel to Italy to watch England’s Euro 2020 quarter final clash with Ukraine as coronavirus restrictions mean those who were lucky in the ballot cannot use their tickets.
The side’s landmark 2-0 defeat of Germany set up the clash in Rome but rules in Italy for arrivals from the UK mean fans would face five days of quarantine, which would see them miss the match this Saturday.
The FA was entitled to an allocation of 2,560, equating to 16 per cent of the agreed capacity of 16,000 at the Stadio Olimpico, but will not take this up, meaning those tickets will go on general sale.
It added it was working with Uefa and the British Embassy in Italy to “facilitate” ticket sales to English residents in Italy, which is also on the UK’s amber list requiring self-isolation for 10 days upon return.1625062939
Downing Street urges England fans not to travel to Rome
Downing Street has urged fans not to travel to Rome for England’s Euro 2020 quarter-final tie with Ukraine on Saturday.
The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “People should not be travelling to amber list countries.
“Obviously we appreciate how fans will want to do everything possible to support the England team but we do need to balance that against the need to protect public health.
“We would urge everyone to comply with the guidelines and rules that we have in place.”
Chiara Giordano30 June 2021 15:221625062548
Long Covid cases under-reported in NHS GP records, study finds
Cases of Long Covid are under reported in NHS GP records, researchers have found.
Through analysing the GP records of 57.9 million patients in England, they found formally recorded diagnoses of Long Covid are substantially lower than previous survey estimates.
The researchers say the results raise important questions about how the disease is diagnosed, recorded and managed by the NHS.
Samuel Osborne30 June 2021 15:151625061919
NHS prepared for spike in admissions of Covid patients to intensive care, says Downing Street
Downing Street has said the NHS is prepared for an increase in admissions of coronavirus patients to intensive care.
New figures show the number of Covid-19 patients on ventilators in England’s hospitals has climbed to its highest level for more than two months.
The prime minister’s official spokesman said the increase had been anticipated and that the country remained in a “good position” to continue with the lifting of lockdown restrictions later this month.
“We have put in a number of additional measures, not least additional ventilators, so we are prepared for this,” the spokesman said.
“As we have said all along, we know cases will rise, sadly we know that will lead to an increase in hospitalisations and whilst the increase has not been as significant as in the past we have seen numbers increase.
“We are aware of the huge challenge this pandemic continues to pose to the country but it is thanks to the significant defences that we have built up through our vaccination programme that we have been able to be one of the most unlocked countries in Europe and in a good position still to take a further step later this month.”
Chiara Giordano30 June 2021 15:051625061348
Scotland records three more coronavirus deaths
Scotland has recorded three coronavirus deaths and 3,887 cases in the past 24 hours, the latest Scottish government figures show.
It means the death toll under this daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – stands at 7,716.
The daily test positivity rate is 9.8 per cent, down from 11.6 per cent the previous day.
A total of 235 people were in hospital on Monday with recently confirmed Covid-19, up 20, with 19 patients in intensive care, down one.
So far, 3,799,467 people have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination and 2,712,237 have received their second dose.
Samuel Osborne30 June 2021 14:551625060628
Education secretary says he wants to end regular Covid testing for schoolchildren ‘at earliest and most realistic possible stage’
The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, has told MPs he wants to end regular Covid-19 testing for schoolchildren “at the earliest and most realistic possible stage”.
Conservative former chief whip Mark Harper, who chairs the lockdown sceptic Covid Recovery Group, said: “He’s clearly I think indicating where he wants to go on getting rid of bubbles. I’m not really sure though why we can’t do it now because we’re then going to cause a huge problem for the rest of term, we’re not going to give a lot of time for teachers and schools to prepare for the autumn.”
On testing, Mr Harper said: “Given we’ve now vaccinated all of those adults at risk of being seriously ill from Covid, is he really suggesting – given that Covid is going to be endemic – that for the rest of time we’re going to be testing our schoolchildren on a regular basis?
“I think we need to move back to normal. Once we’ve protected everyone who is vulnerable to Covid – children are not largely – we need to get back to normal, not ensuring that our children have to be continually tested for the entirety of their school careers.”
Mr Williamson replied: “We do want to see schools return to normality and we don’t want children to feel as if there’s an extra layer of things that they have to do that we as adults don’t have to do and I think that is very important.”
He said testing has been an “incredibly important tool” in helping schools return and the issue is “under review”, adding: “Much longer-term do I see testing as something that we expect children to continuously do always in the future? No I don’t, and I ideally want to move away from that at the earliest and most realistic possible stage.”
Samuel Osborne30 June 2021 14:431625059788
Official Covid-19 symptoms list may miss ‘many cases’, experts warn
The official list of Covid-19 symptoms should be expanded as the existing one could “miss many Covid-19 cases”, experts have argued.
The UK should follow other countries and include a broader range of symptoms that have been linked to a Covid-19 infection, according to a group of scientists, including one of the experts advising the Government on the pandemic response.
Classic symptoms of Covid-19, according to the NHS website, are a high temperature, a new continuous cough and/or a loss or change to a person’s sense of smell or taste.
But the most commonly reported symptoms by people taking part in the Office for National Statistics Covid-19 Infection Survey are cough, headache and fatigue.
The latest ONS release shows 61 per cent of people who tested positive reported symptoms.
Of these, 42 per cent had a cough, 39 per cent reported headache and 38 per cent reported fatigue, according to the ONS.
Muscle ache was reported by a quarter of people and 32 per cent reported having a sore throat.
Meanwhile a third reported fever and 21 per cent reported loss of smell and 15 per cent reported loss of taste.
Samuel Osborne30 June 2021 14:291625058940
Covid patients on ventilators at highest level for more than two months
The number of Covid-19 patients on ventilators in England’s hospitals has climbed to its highest level for more than two months, new figures show.
Analysis by the PA news agency shows that the average number of patients in hospitals in England is also climbing, with younger people driving the rise.
The average number of patients with Covid-19 in England in mechanical ventilation beds stood at 245 on June 29, according to the NHS England figures.
This is up from 206 a week earlier and is the highest since April 24, having dipped as low as 113 on May 29.
The number is still far below the peak of the second wave, when the average hit a high of 3,676 on January 26.
But the trend suggests there is still enough of a link between Covid-19 infection and hospital admissions to result in a growing number of people needing intensive treatment.
Chiara Giordano30 June 2021 14:151625058054
Government resists Tory MPs’ calls to scrap ‘fearful’ daily Covid figures
Boris Johnson’s government has resisted calls from Conservative backbenchers to stop releasing daily Covid-19 figures, amid concern that regular statistics create a “fear factor”.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said daily updates on case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths made people “irrational” – calling on the government to “stop it now”.
Adam Forrest has more details here:
Chiara Giordano30 June 2021 14:001625057214
Police tell England fans they are prepared for ‘football to come home’
Police have said they are prepared for “football coming home” after huge celebrations over England’s victory over Germany in the Euros.
Senior officers reminded football fans that “we are still in a pandemic” and said they may have to disperse crowds if they become disorderly or breach Covid laws.
Our home affairs correspondent Lizzie Dearden has more on this story below:
Chiara Giordano30 June 2021 13:461625056300
Almost 1,300 new cases linked to Scottish fans travelling to London for Euro match
Almost 1,300 people in Scotland tested positive for coronavirus after travelling to London to watch a Euro 2020 match, Public Health Scotland (PHS) has confirmed.
Roughly 400 of these fans were at Wembley to see the game, while the others watched from elsewhere in the English capital.
#AceHealthReport – June.30: At least 652 people infected with coronavirus have died in Russia within the latest 24-hour recording period, government officials announced Tuesday morning. It marks the country’s single most deadly day since the pandemic began.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – Russia records highest official death toll since start of #pandemic, as nation fights sharp rise in cases of Delta variant and the #COVID19 operational headquarters reported the grim milestone amid a steep rise in the number of positive tests for the infection over the past fortnight. More than 134,500 people are confirmed to have died with the virus overall since last March.
Low levels of vaccine uptake compared to a number of other European countries have been repeatedly cited as a challenge in Russia, with polls showing many people are skeptical of the jab. However, in the past few days, queues for appointments have been reported and at least two cities have run short of doses after tough new measures were put in place to control the spread of Covid-19 and boost the numbers of those being immunized.
As of Monday, the Russian capital is also requiring residents to scan a QR code when entering bars, cafes, pubs, food courts and other public spaces. Only those who have proof of vaccination or were officially recorded as a coronavirus case within the past six months will be eligible for unrestricted access, while others seeking admission indoors will have to provide a negative PCR test from within the previous three days.
Russia’s Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova has objected to the move, labelling it “a dishonest game.” She said that “the mechanisms by which it is being implemented are giving rise to mass psychosis and making people fear coercion.”
However, two new polls released last week found that almost half of Russians surveyed back the new measures in Moscow, while 61% of those asked by researchers now plan to get vaccinated in the near future.
#AceHealthReport – June.30: As of Tuesday (Jun 29), out of 610 local cases reported since Apr 28 who had not received any dose of the vaccine, 9.2 per cent developed serious illness, needing oxygen supplementation or admission into intensive care units (ICUs). Six died from complications related to #COVID19
In contrast, no COVID-19 fatalities have been reported from the pool of 289 patients who had either received one or two doses of the vaccine.
The proportion of patients developing serious illness was also lower in the vaccinated group, with 7.3 per cent of patients who had received one dose of the vaccine requiring supplemental oxygen or admission into ICU. As for those who were fully vaccinated, only 1 per cent needed supplemental oxygen.
The Delta variant has an age-associated severe outcome, it added.
This means that the older a person is, the higher the risk of severe illness, explained Professor Leo Yee Sin, executive director of NCID.
“Based on our observations thus far, no vaccinated individual needed to be mechanically ventilated, a stark contrast to those unvaccinated,” she said.
“In the face of the Delta variant, we continue to observe fewer symptomatic cases and fewer severe cases among those vaccinated even in the older age group,” she added.
Responding to CNA’s queries, MOH said that based on local cases reported since Apr 11, the median length of stay in an acute hospital was five days for a fully vaccinated patient and eight days for a non-fully vaccinated patient.
“In many cases, the hospital stays are to enable multiple tests to be completed to ascertain the individual’s infectious status and to keep patients long enough to check that their conditions are unlikely to deteriorate,” said MOH, adding that patients are discharged once they are no longer deemed infectious, regardless of their vaccination status.
At a recent press conference held by the multi-ministry task force tackling COVID-19, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung noted that a local study, which analysed 29,000 people quarantined in Singapore including those who were unvaccinated, found that the COVID-19 vaccines offered about 79.1 per cent protection against the disease.
This, he said, was “not very far off” from a study conducted in the UK, which found that the vaccination offered a protection rate of 88 per cent.
As COVID-19 becomes endemic in Singapore, experts CNA spoke to said boosting vaccination rates will be crucial to prevent the country’s healthcare system from being overwhelmed.
An elderly person receiving a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Tanjong Pagar Community Centre on Jan 27, 2021. (Photo: Jeremy Long)
“When we start to reach an endemic state, it means that there will be a baseline number of people that will be affected on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, and clearly we don’t want these people to be taking up our intensive care unit (ICU) beds,” said Prof Teo Yik Ying, dean of the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.
“It can, indeed, exert quite a significant impact on our healthcare system … We really want this percentage (of patients who develop serious illness) to be as low as possible,” he said.
Until everyone is vaccinated, COVID-19 will continue to pose a risk to communities as well as the country’s healthcare system, said Prof Dale Fisher, who chairs the World Health Organization’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network.
However, as more people get vaccinated, the risk of transmission as well as the likelihood of developing a serious illness will be lower, he said.
“You can see that, now, all the people who were vaccinated that get infected are all very mild or asymptomatic,” said Prof Fisher.
“When (COVID-19) is a mild disease, it will be like a cold or flu and so, such a small number of people die and they’ll generally be unvaccinated, some people will need to go to hospital and again, they are generally unvaccinated.”
“By and large, it’ll just be something mild that people can recover from at home, they won’t even go to the hospital anymore,” he said.
PICKING UP THE PACE
As of Jun 21, more than 5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Singapore. More than 2 million people have been fully vaccinated, accounting for about 36 per cent of the population.
This is more than half of the country’s target to fully vaccinate at least two-thirds of its residents by August.
As of Jun 9, Singapore has vaccinated around 44 per cent of its population with at least one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. Three in four seniors above 60 have had their jabs or booked an appointment. (File photo: TODAY/Ili Nadhirah Mansor)
From Saturday, the country started administering 80,000 doses daily – a 70 per cent increase from the previous 47,000 doses.
“We have a lot of vaccines in Singapore … so I think we need to start pulling out family members of elderly or family members of anyone eligible and just say (to them) that the evidence is clearer than ever – that unvaccinated people are going to continue to die,” said Prof Fisher.
“Unvaccinated individuals are at risk of dying … We’ve already had six (deaths) in the last two months.”
Professor Alex Cook, vice dean of research at the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, likened getting vaccinated to carrying an umbrella to protect against the rain.
“The umbrella doesn’t guarantee you won’t get wet, but you are much more likely to get drenched if you don’t have one,” he said.
“You wouldn’t give up on having an umbrella just because there’s no guarantee you stay dry.”
Hong Kong however confirmed its first local Delta variant only last week, ending a 16-day streak of zero local cases.
The city has had some of the strictest border curbs in the world since 2020, which helped to keep infections numbers low throughout the entire pandemic.
Officials said the city recently recorded a growing number of Delta variant cases in people arriving from the UK, who like all incoming travellers have to quarantine.
According to news agency Reuters, parents in Hong Kong with children who are studying in the UK have reacted with shock that they would now be stranded abroad.
Reuters: Throughtout the pandemic, Hong Kong has managed to keep cases low
The 1 July flight ban is the second time Hong Kong has stopped arrivals from Britain after a ban from December 2020 until May of this year.
Hong Kong already bars flights from several other countries over rising cases of the Delta strain, including Indonesia, India, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines.
The UK government said it “restricts the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong and constitutes a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration”.From protests to ‘patriots’: Why China is bent on crushing Hong Kong dissent
#AceHealthReport – June.29: Mr Deputy Speaker, I am honoured to have been asked to become Secretary of State for Health and Social Care: I understand the responsibility that comes with this job, especially at this critical moment.
Parliament Statement: Monday.28: June:2021: Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that 19 July remains our target date for ending restrictions and moving to step four of the roadmap
As someone who has sat on these front benches for many years, this past year has been a difficult one.
I’ve been frustrated not to be able to play my part in helping to meet the greatest public health challenge our country has ever faced.
I’m especially proud, Mr Deputy Speaker, to have been given this opportunity for public service.
Nothing embodies the spirit of public service more than our National Health Service and those who work in our social care.
I’ve seen it myself in my constituency in Bromsgrove – and I saw it again just this morning at St Thomas’ Hospital where I met doctors, nurses and volunteers who have moved such mountains this past year.
Now they’re helping us vaccinate our way out of this pandemic.
I pay tribute to them all, and I pledge to do everything I can to deliver for them, and the people of this great country and I look forward to working with colleagues on all sides of the House, as we work together on that vital mission.
We are making phenomenal progress with our vaccination programme.
Vaccination is now open to every adult in the country: 84% of adults have got a jab and 61% of adults have had 2 doses.
This progress has allowed us to safely take those first 3 steps out of lockdown – and on towards greater freedoms we enjoy today.
We owe this strong position, not only to the NHS, but everyone that has played their part.
I want to take this opportunity also to pay tribute to my predecessor, my RHF the Member for West Suffolk, who had worked hard through these testing times.
He achieved a great amount in the work that he did, and I know he will have more to offer in public life. I wish him all the very best.
Mr Deputy Speaker, there remains a big task ahead of us: to restore our freedoms, freedoms that, save for the greatest of circumstances, no government should ever wish to curtail.
So my task is to help return the economic and cultural life that makes this country so great – while of course protecting life and our NHS.
That task has been made all the more difficult by the Delta variant, which we now know makes up 95% of new cases in the UK.
Not only does it spread more easily, but the evidence points to a higher risk of those who have not been vaccinated needing hospital treatment – compared to the previously dominant Alpha variant.
This narrowing of the race between the virus and the vaccine led to this government’s difficult decision to pause step 4 on our roadmap until 19 July.
We’re using this extra time to protect as many people as we can.
When the government took that decision on June 14, over 4.3 million over 40s had had a first dose but not a second.
That’s now down to 3.2 million people over 40.
We can all be assured by how many more people are getting the life-saving opportunity that a vaccine offers.
So Mr Deputy Speaker, at this 2-week review point, I want to update the House on our progress to our roadmap to freedom.
Mr Deputy Speaker, our aim is that around two-thirds of all adults in this country will have had both doses by 19 July.
We’re bringing forward second doses, and bringing forward our target for first doses too, so we can meet that 19 July goal.
Vaccine uptake remains sky high.
We’ve seen that age is no barrier for enthusiasm for getting the jab.
As of this weekend, more than half of adults under 30 have taken up the chance to be vaccinated – including, in the last couple of weeks, all 3 of my own adult children.
And our vaccines are working – including against the Delta variant.
The latest modelling from Public Health England shows they have saved over 27,000 [27,243] lives and have prevented over 7 million people from getting COVID-19.
We do know that after a single dose of vaccine the effectiveness is lower against this new Delta variant at around a 33% reduction in symptomatic disease.
But 2 doses of the vaccine are just as effective against hospital admission with the Delta variant, compared to the Alpha variant.
The jabs are making a difference in our hospitals too.
In January, people over 65 who were vaccinated earlier in our programme made up the vast majority of hospital admissions.
The latest data show that group now makes up less than a third.
While cases are now are ticking up, the number of deaths remains mercifully low – and we’ll continue to investigate how our vaccines are breaking that link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths.
And I’m encouraged by new data just today from Oxford University’s ‘mix and match’ trial which show that a mixed schedule of jabs – such as getting the AstraZeneca jab first then Pfizer second – could give our booster vaccination programme more flexibility – and possibly even some better immune responses.
Finally Mr Deputy Speaker, we continue to see a rise in hospitalisations – although in line with the kinds of numbers we had anticipated at this point on our roadmap.
The number of people needing hospital treatment for COVID-19 has doubled since the start of May.
Admissions are most clearly increasing in the North East and South West of England so we’ve been boosting testing centres and vaccines in those areas and keeping a close watch on the numbers.
I spent my first day as Health Secretary just yesterday looking at the data and testing it to the limit.
And whilst we decided not to bring forward step 4, we see no reason to go beyond 19 July.
Because in truth: no date we choose comes with zero-risk for COVID.
We know we cannot simply eliminate it – we have to learn to live with it.
We also know that people and businesses need certainty. So we want every step to be irreversible.
And make no mistake, Mr Deputy Speaker: the restrictions to our freedoms must come to an end.
We owe it to the British people, who have sacrificed so much, to restore their freedoms as quickly as we possibly can – and not to wait a moment longer than we need to.
So Mr Deputy Speaker, with the numbers heading the right direction — all while we protect more and more people each day – 19 July remains our target date.
The Prime Minister has called it our ‘terminus date’.
For me, the 19 July is not only the end of the line but the start of an exciting new journey for our country.
So Mr Deputy Speaker: at this crucial moment in our fightback against this pandemic, we must keep our resolve and keep on our roadmap to freedom – so, together, we can beat this pandemic and we can build back better.
It is a task I’m deeply honoured to lead – and one I know will succeed.
#AceHealthReport – June.28: Sajid Javid says he’s honoured to take up new post, acknowledging ‘huge responsibility’.
#AceHealthDesk says …Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, prioritises ending #pandemic and BBC provides detail of his experience and asks who is the health secretary as he resigns today from his present job at JP Morgan
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:
I’m incredibly honoured to take up the post of Health and Social Care Secretary, particularly during such an important moment in our recovery from COVID-19. This position comes with a huge responsibility and I will do everything I can to deliver for the people of this great country.
Thanks to the fantastic efforts of our NHS and social care staff who work tirelessly every day, and our phenomenal vaccination programme, we have made enormous progress in the battle against this dreadful disease. I want our country to get out of this pandemic and that will be my most immediate priority.
Sajid Javid: Who is the new health secretary? According to BBC Health News
Mr Javid previously served as home secretary under former Prime Minister Theresa May, and in 2019 was promoted to chancellor by Boris Johnson.
However he only lasted in that role for six months, resigning in February 2020 following tensions with the prime minister’s then-advisor Dominic Cummings.
Mr Javid was told he would have to sack his own advisors, but he rejected the order saying it was something “no self-respecting minister” could accept.
The MP for Bromsgrove since 2010 was born in Rochdale, one of five sons of parents who had moved to the UK from Pakistan.
Mr Javid, a 50-year-old father of four, told the Evening Standard in 2012: “My dad was from a tiny village in Pakistan and came here when he was 17 to look for work.
“He settled in Rochdale and became a cotton-mill worker for Courtaulds. But he was quite ambitious, and saw that bus drivers were better paid. His nickname was Mr Night and Day because he used to work every hour God sent his way.”
Mr Javid’s father’s job was the same as the father of another high-profile politician, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and he congratulated the Labour politician “from one son of a Pakistani bus driver to another” after his City Hall victory in 2016.
Mr Javid spent his school years in Bristol after his parents took over a ladieswear shop there, with the family living in a two-bed flat above it.
He told the Daily Mail in 2014 that the school was tough and “I was naughty, more interested in watching Grange Hill than homework.”
But, he said, things changed when his dad read the riot act. “He said ‘this is what I went through, don’t let me down’. I felt really bad. My academic work rocketed.”
He said that his school did not want to pay for him to do maths O-Level – his dad ended paying for it instead.
PA MediaSajid Javid previously served in Boris Johnson’s cabinet as chancellor
He had also developed an interest in financial markets, sparked by the Thatcher government’s privatisations. At the age of 14 he went to see his father’s bank manager and arranged to borrow £500 to invest in shares, becoming a regular reader of the Financial Times.
His goal became to work in the City so he passed that maths O-Level and, rejecting his school’s suggestion he become a TV repair man, headed off to sixth form college and then to Exeter University to study economics and politics – giving a clear hint of his future career direction.
He also met his future wife, Laura, while doing a summer job at Commercial Union. They sat opposite each other and shared a stapler, he told the Daily Mail.
Their four children are privately educated: “We do what’s best for them,” Mr Javid, who has described himself as a non-practising Muslim, told the newspaper.
After university, he set his sights on a job in the City. As he told the Standard: “Some people, in a friendly way, tried to lower my expectations.
“They often tell you that unless you wear an old school tie or have the family contacts, you just won’t get a chance to work in the City. But they were wrong.”
His career move worked out well, although he had to move across the Atlantic to succeed. And by the age of 25, he had become a vice-president at Chase Manhattan Bank, later moving to Singapore for a period with Deutsche Bank. He rose to become a managing director before leaving in the summer of 2009 to concentrate on a political career.
A Conservative Party supporter from the early 1980s, he had attended his first conference towards the end of the Thatcher years, with Conservative friends from university such as fellow Tory MP Robert Halfon.
They got into a bit of trouble at the 1990 conference, handing out leaflets against the then prime minister’s decision to join the Exchange Rate Mechanism, opposing the policy despite being diehard fans of Mrs Thatcher’s.
According to a ConservativeHome profile, Mr Javid, Mr Halfon, another future Tory MP David Burrowes and Tim Montgomerie – founder of ConservativeHome – got up at 07:00 so they could get front-row seats for what turned out to be Mrs Thatcher’s final party conference speech.
Two decades on and, in 2010, he was elected for the first time, and made swift progress.
He began his ministerial career with roles in the Treasury, before becoming the first cabinet minister of Asian descent when he was appointed culture, media and sport secretary in 2014.
He did that for a year before moving to business secretary for a year and then moving on to be communities and local government secretary.
Long thought of as a Eurosceptic, it was a surprise to many when Mr Javid came out for Remain during the UK’s 2016 referendum on whether or not to stay in the European Union.
PASajid Javid (third from left) with the 2014 Budget team
That meant, of course, that like then-Home Secretary Theresa May and his one-time mentor, then Chancellor George Osborne, he was on the losing side.
There was an ill-fated and very short-lived bid to succeed David Cameron as Conservative leader after the referendum, on a “joint ticket” with Stephen Crabb. (He would have been chancellor to Mr Crabb’s prime minister.)
He also ran in the 2019 leadership election but was eliminated in the fourth round before Mr Johnson went on to become prime minister.
Mr Javid was appointed home secretary in April 2018, following the resignation of Amber Rudd during the fallout from the Windrush scandal.
Mr Javid, who was the first home secretary from an ethnic minority, told the newspaper: “When I heard about the Windrush issue, I thought that could be my mum, it could be my dad, it could be my uncle, it could be me.”
In 2019 he took a hardline stance towards Shamima Begum, who left London to join the Islamic State group aged 15, revoking her British citizenship when she asked to return.
The move boosted his popularity amongst some Tories but provoked criticism from others – particularly after her newborn son died in a Syrian refugee camp.
PAMr Javid talking to Tata Steel workers in 2016
In his cabinet roles he had avoided major calamity, although he faced questions as business secretary over Tata steel, and as communities secretary over the government response to the Grenfell disaster.
However, he had not been afraid to ruffle feathers, with uncompromising messages to some in the business community and local government.
Following his resignation as chancellor, Mr Javid returned to life as a backbench MP, but also took up a job with US bank JP Morgan.