Good Morning. Many aspects of the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis have been flawed, but overall the vaccination program has been a notable success so far, and therefore it is understandable why ministers are eager to talk about it. Today, the government says it has indeed reached its goal of delivering a hit to all nursing home residents in England (some have been missed because visits were canceled due to Covid outbreaks in homes) and this morning Helen whately, the minister of care, has been giving interviews about that.
But he has refused to confirm that a vaccine has been offered to all the staff at the residence. “We know that we are still working through the nursing home staff,” he told the Today show. Staff were also supposed to be covered at the end of the January deadline, although Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock have commented (e.g., Here and Here) saying that the January promise has just been applied to residents.
Whately also appeared to water down the commitment to open a center that offers vaccines 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At the beginning of January, the number 10 caused a stir by stating that there was “not a cry” for these. Boris Johnson later announced that the government would put the idea to the test (after Sir Keir Starmer endorsed vaccines 24/7) and Nadhim Zahawi, the minister of vaccine implementation, said a pilot would “absolutely” launch in London at the end of January. Today, however, when asked what had happened to this proposal, Whately simply said that it was “something that was being studied.”
Here is the agenda for the day.
12:00 h: Downing Street is expected to hold its daily lobby briefing.
12:15 pm: Nicola Sturgeon, the Prime Minister of Scotland, is holding a briefing on the coronavirus.
12:15 pm: The Welsh government is expected to hold a briefing on the coronavirus.
1.30 pm: Sir Keir Starmer appears on Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch.
After 3:30 p.m.: MPs begin an opposition day debate on a Labor motion calling for work to begin immediately on removing hazardous floor coverings.
4 pm: Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the Commons, gives evidence to the Commons procedures committee on the Commons procedure during the pandemic.
17:00 h: Matt Hancock, the health secretary, is expected to hold a press conference at No. 10.
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 stories that do not belong to Covid, and when they seem more important or more interesting, they will take precedence.
Here’s our global coronavirus live blog.
I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, put “Andrew” somewhere and you’re more likely to find it. I try to answer questions and if they are of general interest I will post the question and answer above the line (ATL), although I cannot promise to do this for everyone.
If you want to get my attention quickly, it’s probably best to use Twitter. I’m in @ AndrewGorrión.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism