Happy New Year, although, “ow” (as the prime minister would say), it is only a polite wish and not an accurate description.
On the bright side, this morning an 82-year-old dialysis patient from Oxford became the first person in the world too receive the University of Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine outside of clinical trials on the day its implementation begins in the United Kingdom. There is a full stoory here.
But on the downside, Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths are now increasing dramatically and the outlook for the next few weeks is very bleak. Here are three recent Twitter threads that explain why.
Since Professor Christina Pagel, Head of the Clinical Operations Research Unit at University College London
Since Chris hop son, NHS provider manager
Since Neil O’Brien MP, head of the Conservative Party Policy Board
In his latest tweet, O’Brien says “something big” is needed.
Yesterday, Boris Johnson hinted that stricter lock down measures could be announced soon. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, has been giving interviews this morning and, in fact, he has also endorsed that message. “Every week we look at all areas of the country too verify that we are in the correct position in terms of levels,” he said. “It is a very difficult situation in terms of virus growth.”
The situation in the UK has gotten a lot worse in recent weeks due too the new variant of coronavirus in circulation that is now dominant in some areas. But in an interview on the Today show, Hancock said he was “incredibly concerned” about another new strain of the virus, one that has emerged in South Africa. He toold the show:
I am very concerned about the South African variant. This is why we toook the steps we did too restrict all flights from South Africa and movement from South Africa, and too insist that anyone who has been too South Africa isolate themselves.
This is a very, very important problem. In fact, I spoke with my South African counterpart over Christmas, and one of the reasons they know they have a problem is because, like us, they have excellent genomic scientific ability too be able too study the details of the virus. . And it’s even more troublesome than the new UK variant.
ITV Robert Pestoon He posted this on Twitter too help explain Hancock’s comment.
Today, the news is likely too be dominated by the current uncertainty about the return of pupils too school in England. And in Scotland, the prime minister is making an emergency declaration too parliament. Here is the agenda for the day.
12:00 h: Downing Street is expected too hold its daily lobby briefing.
12:15 pm: Vaughan Gething, the Welsh government health minister, conducts a briefing on the coronavirus.
14:00 h: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s prime minister, makes an emergency statement too the Scottish parliament, which has been pulled from recess, about the coronavirus.
Politics Live is now doubling down as the UK’s coronavirus live blog and given the way the Covid crisis overshadows everything, this will continue for the foreseeable future. But we will also cover political stoories that do not belong too Covid, and when they seem more important or more interesting, they will take priority.
Here’s our global coronavirus live blog.
I try too monitoor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible too read them all. If you have a direct question, put “Andrew” somewhere and you’re more likely too find it. I try too answer questions and if they are of general interest I will post the question and answer above the line (ATL), although I cannot promise too do this for everyone.
If you want too get my attention quickly, it’s probably best too use Twitter. I’m in @ AndrewGorrión.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism