Latest updates: First minister says the new variant now accounts for almost half of the new cases. Welsh lockdown restrictions apply throughout January
According to Sturgeon, more than 100 have. 000 people in Scotland received their first dose of vaccine. She says the AstraZeneca will launch from today. And by the end of January, the government will have access to 900. Have 000 cans, she says (including the 1,000 already shipped). 000). .
She says that under the new vaccination guideline (i.e., withholding second dose) by « early May », everyone over the age of 50 and anyone with underlying health conditions that make them a priority will have received their first dose of vaccine.
She says the government will examine whether teachers and childcare workers can be prioritized for vaccines.
But the measures it is announcing now apply to parts of Scotland at Tier 4 – that is, mainland Scotland.
These measures will strengthen Stage 4. They will be in effect throughout January but could take longer.
First, the advice to stay home becomes mandatory. People are only allowed to leave the house if they have a reasonable excuse. And they should work from home when they can.
She says people who had to protect themselves will be given new guidelines. They should stay home and they’ll all get a letter telling them so, she says.
She says that from tomorrow only a maximum of two people from two households can meet outdoors. Children under 11 are not included, she says.
Up to 20 people can attend a funeral, but guards are not allowed in January.
She says that canteens in the workplace have to enforce the 2-meter rule again. The 1 meter exemption is no longer permitted.
According to Sturgeon, Scotland had 1. 905 new cases. And 15% of the tests are positive.
She says there are no new deaths reported today, but that’s because registries closed yesterday.
In one lane is the vaccine and in another lane is the virus, which now runs faster because of its change.
She says she is more concerned about the situation now than she has ever been since March last year.
She says cabinet decided to introduce a legal requirement to stay home from midnight onwards except for essential purposes.
Wales’ lockdown restrictions will almost certainly last through January, said Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething.
Gething also suggested that police take decisive action against people who violate Wales’ strict travel rules to visit beauty spots to exercise.
The Welsh government will announce later this week whether the restrictions on Alert Level 4 will change this month.
When asked if the lockdown was likely to last into February and beyond, Gething said:
I think it would be unusual and not what people want us to do if we decide to leave level 4 later this week.
We haven’t seen the direct impact of the blending that happened over Christmas or those that went outside the rules in our numbers yet.
When asked about reports from people breaking the rules by driving to beauty spots in Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons, Gething said:
If people decide to go for a mountain walk, those people probably know they are doing the wrong thing. I believe we need to help the police with enforcement action. Ten months deep in a global pandemic that lasted more than 3. 500 people died in our country, I have much less tolerance for people who knowingly do wrong.
Scotland will be fully locked down from midnight tonight to keep the coronavirus pandemic from spiraling out of control. Nicola Sturgeon is expected to announce this to the Scottish Parliament this afternoon.
The first minister is expected in an emergency statement at 14. Midnight announce that all Scottish schools will be closed for the whole of January and will switch to online learning due to the risks of the new Covid variant B117.
The new rules for staying at home, which reflect the very strict controls imposed in March of last year, will also be legally enforced and severely restrict the ability to travel, the Cabinet of the Scottish Government agreed on Monday earlier.
NEW: Scotland will be completely closed from midnight this evening. @NicolaSturgeon will announce this. The new # COVID19 restrictions will continue to be tightened by law. @ScotGovFM will likely outline a dual strategy to combat the new strain of #coronavirus
While Scotland has not seen a sharp escalation in the number of hospital patients with Covid in parts of England over the past week, the number of positive cases has risen to new records every day, rising to 2 yesterday. 464 reached.
In her interview with Radio 5 Live, Dr. June Raine, executive director of the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA), asked if vaccines need to go through the entire regulatory process again if they are to be adjusted to deal with a new variant of the virus.
It would depend on whether the vaccine had « a major or a minor tweak, » she said. But she said the MHRA had already looked at the issue. She said:
We are already looking into whether we need to do a full relook, as you suggest, or whether we can have a way to change or update a current permit. And that’s all in hand at the moment. We want to make sure this is done in the shortest possible time if necessary.
Some readers have asked how many schools in England that were due to open today have closed. We don’t have the correct numbers yet, but this tweet from Emma Parker, a member of the National Education Union’s executive branch, gives an insight into the situation in Durham. She says more than 400 union members have used Section 44 of the Labor Law to argue that it is not safe to go to work and that there have been 67 school closings.
We had numbers all night. So far 429 @ neu_durham members have used S44 in 88 settings. 67 are closed today for everyone except KW & V children, of whom much more are expected during the day, as they are not due to open again until tomorrow. @NEUnorthern @cyclingkev @MaryBoustedNEU
In an interview with Radio 5 live, Dr. June Raine, executive director of the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA), downgraded Boris Johnson’s proposal (see 11). 44 a.m.) that the need for batch testing delayed the supply of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine. When asked for Johnson’s comment, she said:
It’s part of our end-to-end process where everything is thoroughly checked. The National Institute of Biological Standards and Controls releases biological medicines as a task so this process starts very early, before approval is given, which is what it takes to do the right reviews and therefore everything is there and in hand at the time of approval.
When asked if the MHRA can do this as soon as possible, Raine said:
Yes, and we’ve grown over time as there are more vaccines in order to be able to batch release all vaccines. I was very proud last Wednesday when we approved the AZ vaccine, the Oxford / AZ vaccine, that we had approved the first batch the night before. We are so nimble and so fast.
The MHRA is fully scaled to run the batch testing that is so important to confidence as the new products hit the market.
It’s a supply chain that goes back from the manufacturer to the MHRA and then to the clinical bedside or where the vaccines are delivered. So we’re a step along the way, but our capacity is there, I’m very clear about that.
When asked if it was sensible to hit a goal of two million vaccinations per week, Raine said:
It is desirable, but depending on the size of the batch, we certainly have the capacity.
Coronavirus rates have fallen in Wales but remain very high and the new variant is spreading quickly, said the country’s health minister, Vaughan Gething.
Gething said at a press conference that coronavirus cases in Wales « remain very high » despite rates falling from « incredibly high levels » before Christmas. He said:
The overall incidence rate for Wales is of 636 cases per 100. 000 people on 17. December dropped to 446 cases today.
That is still way too high. There have been falls in most parts of Wales, except North Wales where falls are increasing rapidly. We believe this is due to the new, fast moving strain.
It’s too early to know if these falls were due to the holiday season and fewer people showing up for testing, or if they are early, positive signs of ongoing slowdown in this terrible virus.
Jeremy Hunt, the former Conservative Health Secretary who now chairs the Commons Health Committee, is calling for a full lockdown in England. He says schools and borders should be closed immediately and any shuffling of households should be prohibited. He says a one-day delay will cause « many preventable deaths ». .
Unions may be surprised that such a senior Conservative is so clearly on their side in his argument with the government over the reopening of schools. (See 10. 49 o’clock. )
Time to Action: Think about why we need to close schools and borders and immediately ban all household mixing.
For those who argue, winter at the NHS is always like this: you are wrong. I faced four major winter crises as Health Sec, and the situation is now worse than any.
It’s true that we often had to cancel elective care in January to protect emergency care, but that too is under a lot of pressure as the record-breaking car is waiting for the sickest patients. https: // t. co / phEd47ztne
What is even more worrying is that fewer heart attack patients are present in intensive care units, possibly because they don’t dial 999 when they need: // t. co / CM1548589N
Full credit to NHS for keeping cancer services open, but in wave 1 there was still a 2/3 decrease in cancer applications: people didn’t see GPs or wanted to go to hospitals, with many potentially preventable cancer deaths. We were hoping to avoid this this time, but now we look unlikely.
An excellent analysis by @NeilDotObrien shows the reason for all this pressure: 1/3 more hospital beds that are now occupied by covid patients across the country than in wave 1 (50% in SE). Clearly, having a new strain in the middle of winter has massive implications https: // t. co / d3L3suUlxh
The main lesson is countries that act early. & crucially saves lives. & will get your economies back to normal faster. Wuhan is now free of any restrictions – but the University of Southampton shows they would have reduced infections by 2/3 if they had been banned 1 week earlier. https: // t. co / 1uWplUpIJA.
We therefore cannot afford to wait: all schools should be closed, international travel stopped, the household mix limited and the animal system checked so that the highest level actually lowers the infection rate (as with the first lock). .
Even with 2-3 times normal vacancy due to & Covid self-isolation, NHS staff who risk their lives for us MUST be put at the top of the vaccine queue. This will keep our hospitals from falling over and protect their patients. It is also our moral duty.
The good news is that unlike before, these restrictions will be limited to around 12 weeks to get the vaccine to those most susceptible to Covid – so there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I know all of these things are taken into account in decisions that may be imminent. My point, given its exponential growth, is that even waiting for an extra day will cause many preventable deaths, so these plans now urgently need to be accelerated.
Vaughan Gething, Welsh Minister of Health, is holding a briefing on coronavirus in Cardiff. There is a live feed at the top of the blog. Gething opened by stating that the vaccine was being introduced in Wales but the country was « not out of the woods » because of the ongoing threat.
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Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland, Coronavirus, Scottish Government, Lockdown, Scottish Parliament
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