"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 14th Oct 2021
The Covid report lays bare Test and Trace failings – Dido Harding’s mistakes won’t be forgotten - When the damning Parliamentary report into the Covid pandemic was published today, there was quiet pride within the NHS that its own performance was largely the subject of praise. Many of the best things about the state’s response to the virus, from the vaccine rollout to new treatments to agile management, were down to the health service. But there was also a sense of relief, as most of the heaviest criticism was directed at not just the government and scientific advisers but also at ‘NHS Test and Trace’ (which should really have been called ‘DHSC Test and Trace’, as Matt Hancock’s Department of Health and Social Care ran it, not the NHS). Some in the health service, who have long resented their brand being used and abused by Dido Harding’s controversial unit, pointedly remarked today that she had tried – and failed – this summer to become chief executive of the NHS itself. Or, as one insider put it: “We dodged a bullet there.”
Belgium's Covid App Reports Data Breach Days Before Pass Rollout - Belgium’s app that verifies coronavirus vaccinations reported a data leak, just days before Brussels is set to require people to prove they’ve been jabbed in order to enter restaurants. A potential leak of the CovidScan app may have exposed the sensitive health data of 39,000 people, the country’s data protection authority said in an emailed press release. The app is used to read the QR codes -- usually on a phone -- that prove people have received a vaccine or have recently tested negative for the virus. From Friday the nation’s capital will mandate people to show a Covid pass to enter bars, restaurants, sports clubs and hospitals. The measure aims to stoke the local economy and spur vaccinations.
Australia's CSL reaffirms commitment to making AstraZeneca COVID vaccine - Australian biotech CSL said on Thursday it was committed to its agreement for the production of about 50 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine into 2022. The announcement came after a media report said the British drugmaker's vaccine, Vaxzevria, will no longer be manufactured in Australia due to demand for vaccines of Pfizer and Moderna. Pfizer and Moderna have established a market dominance by using mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine technology to fight the pandemic.
COVID-19: Minister apologises for 'hurt and distress' suffered by bereaved families in wake of damning report on pandemic handling - A minister has apologised for the 'hurt and distress' suffered by families who have lost loved ones to coronavirus, the day after a colleague refused 11 times to say sorry for the government's handling of the pandemic. 'The prime minister apologised earlier this year for all the hurt and distress all those families have suffered and I share that and of course I offer that as well,' Conservative Party chair Oliver Dowden told Kay Burley.
China to test thousands of Wuhan blood samples in Covid-19 probe - China is preparing to test tens of thousands of blood bank samples from the city of Wuhan as part of a probe into the origins of Covid-19, according to a Chinese official. The move comes amid increasing calls for transparency over the emergence of the virus. The store of up to 200,000 samples, including those from the closing months of 2019 were pinpointed in February this year by the World Health Organization's panel of investigators as a possible source of key information that could help determine when and where the virus first crossed into humans. The samples are kept in the Wuhan Blood Center, and are thought to span 2019, providing real-time tissue samples from a wide swathe of the population in the Chinese city where SARS-CoV-2 is thought to have first infected humans.
Bill Gates Says World Must Increase Vaccine-Making Capacity - Bill Gates, whose foundation has focused efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, said Wednesday that government and industry leaders around the world need to “get serious” about increasing vaccine-making capacity so that they can respond faster in the future. While changes to how the world allocates and shares doses can help, the ability to quickly make large volumes of mRNA vaccines can lesson the political tensions that can arise from scarcity, Gates wrote in his blog. “The world should have the goal of being able to make and deliver enough vaccines for everyone on the planet within six months of detecting a potential pandemic,” Gates said. “If we could do that, then the supply of doses would not be a limiting factor, and the way they were allocated would no longer be a matter of life and death.”
US to reopen land borders in November for fully vaccinated - Beleaguered business owners and families separated by COVID-19 restrictions rejoiced Wednesday after the U.S. said it will reopen its land borders to nonessential travel next month, ending a 19-month freeze. Travel across land borders from Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to workers whose jobs are deemed essential. New rules will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S. regardless of the reason starting in early November, when a similar easing of restrictions is set for air travel. By mid-January, even essential travelers seeking to enter the U.S., such as truck drivers, will need to be fully vaccinated. Shopping malls and big box retailers in U.S. border towns whose parking spaces had been filled by cars with Mexican license plates were hit hard by travel restrictions.
Doubts over demand on eve of Indonesia's Bali reopening - Hours before Indonesia's top holiday destination Bali reopens to foreign tourists after 18 months of pandemic hiatus, the island is lacking one crucial ingredient: international flights. Tourism-reliant Bali is scheduled to reopen on Thursday and though its Ngurah Rai international airport has carried out simulations preparing for the tourists to return, it is not expecting much to happen soon. 'So far there is no schedule,' said Taufan Yudhistira, a spokesman for the airport.
Florida fines key county $3.5 million for mandating vaccines - Florida has issued its first fine to a county it says violated a new state law banning coronavirus vaccine mandates and for firing 14 workers who failed to get the shots. The Florida Department of Health on Tuesday issued the $3.5 million fine for Leon County, home to the state capital, saying the municipality violated Florida’s “vaccine passport” law, which prohibits businesses and governments from requiring people to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. “These are people that, presumably, have been serving throughout this whole time and now all of a sudden they’re basically getting kicked to the curb,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference in St. Pete Beach.
Panama approves Pfizer COVID-19 booster for high-risk people - Panama has approved a booster dose of Pfizer Inc's (PFE.N) COVID-19 vaccine for high-risk people, including healthcare workers, bedridden patients, nursing home residents and people over 55, health officials said on Tuesday. The Central American country has reported 469,440 COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic and 7,275 deaths. More than 5.5 million vaccine doses have been administered since January, covering most of the eligible population. 'We have decided to begin the process of applying a booster shot to the population with the Pfizer vaccine, starting tomorrow in public and private hospitals,' Health Minister Luis Sucre said.
Honeywell mandates COVID-19 shots at all U.S. offices - Honeywell International Inc said on Wednesday it will require employees at all its U.S. offices and some manufacturing locations to be vaccinated against COVID-19 under an executive order from President Joe Biden for federal contractors. Other government contractors including Boeing Co, International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) and Raytheon Technologies Corp have also mandated vaccines, with the White House last month setting Dec. 8 as the vaccination deadline for millions of employees of federal contractors. 'The vaccination mandate applies to all Honeywell locations within the U.S. and its territories that support U.S. government contract work.