On April 16, First Secretary of State Dominic Raab released a speech reviewing social isolation measures, as they had promised three weeks ago.
Unsurprisingly, the lockdown will continue for at least another 3 weeks across the UK, and after that, they will review the next steps.
According to him, we are in a delicate and dangerous phase of this pandemic and relaxing the measures now could jeopardize and harm public health and the economy.
If we rush to relax the measures we have taken, we risk wasting all the sacrifices and all the progress that has been made so far.
There may be a second peak of the virus and with it, a new lockdown, threatening the health and life of individuals, in addition to all the economic damage that second isolation would bring.
The Secretary said that five conditions must be reached before a possible relaxation in social isolation can be considered:
– Ensure that the NHS will be able to provide critical care and specialized treatment across the UK;
– A consistent drop in the daily mortality rate due to the virus, making sure that we’ve passed the peak;
– Reliable data showing that the infection rate is decreasing to “manageable levels”;
– Ensure the provision of tests and personal protective equipment that can meet future demand;
– Be sure that any adjustment will not result in a second peak.
One of the criticisms is the fact that the government does not reveal what the strategies will be for when we leave isolation: how it will be done, what measures we need to take, which businesses will be able to reopen, etc.
According to Raab, it would be irresponsible on their part to talk about something without collecting the necessary information to be able to pass it on to the population correctly and on a secure basis.
In my opinion, they are right. As we are 2 – 3 weeks behind Italy, France and Spain, we can learn from their mistakes and achievements and see, according to the measures that these countries are taking, which ones worked or not and then apply here.
This is a learning process, where each country adapts according to the results of the previous one.
One thing is certain, and everyone agrees, our life will only return to normal when a vaccine is developed, and when a drug is effective in most cases. Until then, social distancing measures will be necessary.
Speaking of cases, the UK has over 103.000 people tested positive, and at the moment, sadly, more than 13.000 have died.
Every week we have a new controversy here.
This week is about care homes. As I had mentioned a few days ago (here), the number of infected and deaths are not accurate, as only those occurring in hospitals are entering the statistics. Unfortunately, the elderly who died in their homes or nursing homes were not included.
This is one of the biggest challenges, as there are more than 15.000 care homes in England, compared to around 200 hospitals.
However, as explained, hospitals are familiar with the procedures, and that is why the government is using these numbers in their statistics for COVID-19.
As for the casualty information in homes and nursing homes, it takes longer to be processed on, in addition to these people having to be tested (and this takes time), to be sure that the cause of death was due to the coronavirus.
There is a two-week delay in the data collected for official statistics. The most recent figures are for the week ending April 3.
In addition to this problem, the staff at nursing homes have been saying for a few weeks that it is difficult to obtain personal protective equipment, such as disposable gloves, aprons and face masks, to keep their employees and customers safe.
The government says it has delivered seven million items, which means that every registered home should receive 300 items, which doesn’t seem to be enough!
Every day at 5 pm, the Minister of Health, Finance or Secretary of State, with two other people, hold a conference, where they inform us of new measures and what is being done concerning the economy and health. They also answer questions from several journalists, via video conference.
On the 16th, Prof Chris Whitty urged in this conference, that people who are with severe health problems (Not COVID-19 related), should go to the hospital, that they “remain open” as usual.
People are ending up dead or getting extremely sick because of an emergency. Still, they were afraid to go to the hospital and get the coronavirus or because they think they are not attending different cases.
As part of the new government guidelines, the Minister of Health announced that family members of relatives who are dying would be able to visit them in care homes or hospitals to say goodbye.
He said the UK would introduce new measures to “limit the risk of infection” and allow a farewell “whenever possible”.
To date, banks and financial institutions have lent more than £ 1.1 billion to small and medium-sized businesses under the coronavirus lending scheme. More than 6.000 loans have already been granted, with an average value of around £ 185.000.
But the reports from small businesses and politicians is that loans are being approved very slowly and that the government must introduce urgent reforms to the scheme to prevent companies from going bankrupt.
British farmers recently warned that harvests could rot due to the shortage of seasonal workers from Eastern Europe, who ended up staying in their countries because of travel restrictions.
Therefore, farmworkers are being brought to the UK on charter flights to harvest fruits and vegetables.
The first flight arrived on April 16, carrying 150 Romanian rural workers. There will be six flights to operate between mid-April and the end of June for this purpose.
Of course, the group will be monitored on arrival in the UK, and anyone with a higher temperature will be quarantined.
However, I don’t have only bad news!
In an attempt to raise £1000 for an NHS charity, 99-year-old war veteran Capt Tom Moore walked 100 laps of 25-meter in his garden with the help of a walking frame.
The idea was to take this walk and raise that money before his 100th birthday, which will be on April 30.
The result: Captain Tom completed the 100 laps on the 16th morning and raised over £12 million.
With this result, he decided that he will continue walking every day until the donations stop. At the moment, on April 17, the collection exceeds £ 18 million. What an incredible person he is! A true hero…
Donations are still open if you want to donate, go to this website: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tomswalkforthenhs
Mercedes-Benz Formula One in conjunction with UCL University College of London delivered more than 10.000 CPAP devices.
The design, known as CPAP, is a breathing equipment to help patients with lung infections to breath more easily when an oxygen mask is insufficient, but a full ventilator is not required.
Several initiatives have emerged to offer NHS employees free or discounted holidays once the pandemic has passed, and people can travel again.
Since its launch, the #treatournhs initiative has seen over 100 accommodation owners across the UK sign up, offering a weekend accommodation, a spa day, etc. Cool huh?
Anyway, I have a lot more information to pass on to you, but I think I’ve exceeded myself today.
I believe that if we are all united and respecting the rules of social distance, however difficult it may be, we will be saving lives, which in my view, is the most important thing right now.
If, as we are helping each other now, we help each other later, when the economic crisis comes, I am sure that we will go through this tough time and give more value to one another!
Have a great weekend AT HOME! #stayathome
This post is also available in: Português