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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 25 June 2021

How many of us can say absolutely that they have not in any way bent or broken guidelines or even the law whilst dealing with Covid. Most of us have been too close to someone, even had a quick hug or kiss, or been in a too larger group at home or outside. We are all human and will slip up from time to time. If we are not spotless, we cannot throw stones. Let our Health Secretary, who has apologised, get on with his vital work. The PM has accepted his apology and so should we. Most of us do not live with long range cameras watching our every move.

The Statistic for the last two days continues to show a rapid rise in new cases, with only a small creeping increase on the impact in hospitals. Around 1 million tests are being processed every day. And around 16,000 tests have been positive each day. There have been almost 30,000 new cases in the last 7 days. The rate is now well over 100, at 195.2 per 100k of the population.

224 people were admitted to hospital today, with 204 yesterday. 1532 were in hospital on 22 June with 259 of those on a ventilator.

There were 18 deaths reported today and 21 for yesterday. More importantly, perhaps we are back to over 110 deaths in the last 7days.

1st doses now number 43.87 million and 30.08million second doses.

I understand that the lateral flow tests show false positives in between 1 and 3 per thousand. These may result in quarantine unnecessarily, but a false negative could be much more serious. I cannot find any statements anywhere as to what the current rate of false negatives is for lateral flow tests. They are much less for PCR tests but I can find no data. If you find it please add it to the comments.

There has been a lot of anxiety about the safety of crowds at big sporting events. Some very important figures were published today. Only 28 positive tests were found in 58,000 attending mass gatherings the Government is monitoring. Seated events may be much safer than was feared, you only actually are a risk from those seated around you, not from the crowd on the other side of the pitch.

The main news of the day has been around the travel restrictions and the newly published lists. A number of countries have been added to the Green list. These include;

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Balearic Islands, Barbados, Bermuda, Antarctic territories, Indian Ocean Territories, Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Madeira, Malta, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands.

All these new countries are on a new green watch list, except for Malta. The watch list is a new category where there are some concerns that the country may suddenly cease to be green and could be reclassified as amber or red suddenly and with very short notice. You have been warned, do not go there unless you are prepared for the rules to change and quarantine required again.

The existing Green countries are;

Australia, Brunei, Falklands, Gibraltar, Iceland, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, South Georgia, and St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan Da Cunha.

Deciding which country is on which list is complex with several factors being considered,

1 the case rates

2 vaccine uptake

3 the prevalence of variants of concern

4 the ability to sequence the virus genome

5 the general reliability of the data being published from each country.

There are 56 countries on the red list with Haiti, Uganda, Tunisia, Eritrea, Mongolia and the Dominican republic having just been added. Turkey remains on the red list although it had been predicted to go amber.

The remainder are on the amber or red lists, do check the country you are interested in.

This is a very fluid situation with changes being made all the time. Do not trust my lists but check on the Government website for the latest update. Also, check with your hotel and airline. Check if you are up to date with all your holiday jabs and if you require antimalarials.

Parts of Sydney Australia including the Bondi beach have just gone into tight lockdown for a week due to a sudden rise in the numbers of delta virus cases. You may be able to travel to Australia but will find you cannot enter parts of Sydney.

If like me, you will remain here in the UK, there is plenty of unspoiled country to explore or even ancient cities. My advice is to give the seaside beaches and well-known beauty spots a miss, choose a county you have not been in before and go exploring. There is plenty of B&Bs keen to have your custom.

Keep going with hands face space, get your vaccines done and take hesitant friends with you, even if they only watch the first time.

Stay safe, more on Monday.

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