Saturday 11 April 2020

Coronavirus Log Part 1 (December 2019 to 28 April 2020).

December 2019:

On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was informed of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan City, China. A novel coronavirus was identified as the cause by Chinese authorities on 7 January 2020 and was temporarily named “2019-nCoV”.

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

See WHO Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

There are questions about
when the Chinese authorities first knew of coronavirus - The Guardian 13 March. For a Canadian view see National Post 3 April 2020

30 January 2020:

The WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, declared the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) on 30 January 2020. This was the 6th time WHO declared a PHEIC since the International Health Regulations (IHR) came into force in 2005.

WHO - 2019-nCoV outbreak is an emergency of international concern

UK - Public Health legislation:

In the light of the 2005 International Health Regulations, the UK had already enacted the Health and Social Care Act 2008 Part 3 which updated the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984.

10 February 2020:

On Monday 10 February 2020, the UK government's Health Minister (Mr Matt Hancock) made The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 - Statutory Instrument 2020/129.  The Regulations were made using the Emergency Procedure set out in section 45R of the 1984 Act. That procedure enables the Minister to make Regulations which become legally in force without prior approval by Parliament. The Minister has to declare that use of the procedure is necessary by reason of urgency.

On 18 February, the UK Prime Minister spoke with President Xi of China - No. 10 announcement.

Parliament went into recess on Thursday 13 February until Monday 24 February.  On 26 February 2020 there was a debate in the House of Commons about Coronavirus - Hansard 26 February.

22 February - The Daily Mail - Cruise Ship passengers taken to Arrowe Park

*** March 2020 - Escalation ***

2 March (Monday) - The government set out a Coronavirus Action Plan to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

3 March - Prime Minister's Statement - set out a 4 strand Coronavirus Action Plan - Containing the virus, delaying its spread, researching its origins and cure, and finally mitigating the impact should the virus become more widespread. That is, contain, delay, research, mitigate.

6 March – funding – global race bolstered - The global race to find a vaccine for coronavirus to be bolstered by support announced by the Prime Minister today, funded by the UK’s international development budget.

9 March (Monday) - Prime Minister's Statement

11 March - The Independent (15 April) - Football match at Anfield - As Europe warned the UK about the toll of Covid-19, a Champions League match on Merseyside was allowed to go ahead on government advice

12 March - Prime Minister's Statement - "I’ve got to be clear, we’ve all got to be clear, that this is the worst public health crisis for a generation. Some people compare it to seasonal flu. Alas, that is not right. Owing to the lack of immunity, this disease is more dangerous. And it’s going to spread further and I must level with you, level with the British public, many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time. And the Chief Scientific Adviser will set out the best information we have on that in a moment. But as we’ve said over the last few weeks, we have a clear plan that we are now working through. And we are now moving to the next phase in that plan."

14 March - The Telegraph - US bans flights from UK and Ireland in bid to stem coronavirus spread

16 March (Monday) - Prime Minister's Statement 

17 March – revised government structures were put in place to co-ordinate the response to coronavirus.

17 March - Prime Minister's Statement

17 March saw the release of reports by Imperial College, London.

17 March - Imperial college London reports

Imperial researchers model likely impact of public health measures

COVID-19 Reports

The Imperial College report is discussed at Foreign Policy 17 March, Financial Times 19 March, The Telegraph 17 March, The Guardian 16 March.

18 March - Prime Minister's Statement - announcing school closures

18 March - The Guardian - Scientists have been sounding the alarm on coronavirus for months. Why did Britain fail to act?

19 March - Prime Minister's Statement - " ... we can turn the tide within the next 12 weeks ..."

20 March - Prime Minister's Statement 

20 March - Closure of schools commenced - and see UK Government 22 March

21 March – the first Business closure Regulations were made - Statutory Instrument 2020/327.

(Note: These Regulations were later revoked and replaced by The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 )

22 March - Prime Minister's Statement

23 March (Monday) - Prime Minister's Address to the Nation - announcing forthcoming legal restrictions - "From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction - you must stay at home ..."

23 March - Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

25 March - Prime Minister's Statement

25 March - Coronavirus Bill received Royal Assent and became Coronavirus Act 2020 - (Note: the Act revoked Statutory Instrument 2020/129 - made on 10 February). 

26 March - UK government announces record funding to find a coronavirus vaccine

26 March - Prime Minister's call with ventilator manufacturers and suppliers

26 March - The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 - new Regulations made using the emergency power in section 45R of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. These Regulations revoked Statutory Instrument 2020/327.

26 March - G7 Summit

26 March - Government announcement re help for self-employed 

26 March - The Independent report about excessive shopping ("panic buying")

26 March - Daily Mail - No 10 slaps down Home Secretary Priti Patel after she called for UK borders to be closed

26 March - The Telegraph - Priti Patel in row with Boris Johnson over closing Britain's borders to keep coronavirus at bay 

26 March - BBC News - "Mix-up" over EU ventilator scheme BUT

27 March - Independent - Brussels rubbishes UK government claim it missed EU ventilator scheme due to 'communications problem'

27 March - The Guardian - Advice on protective gear for NHS staff was rejected owing to cost

27 March - Each Other - UK Coronavirus Timeline: From Liberty to Lockdown 
28 March - Goverment letter to nation

28 March - The Guardian - We must take drastic action but let's not turn into a nation of little tyrants

28 March - The Telegraph - Exercise Cygnus uncovered: the pandemic warnings buried by the government

28 March - The Telegraph - Exclusive: Ministers were warned that the NHS could not cope with a pandemic three years ago but 'terrifying' results were kept secret

30 March (Monday) - BBC News - 20,000 former NHS staff return to fight virus, PM says

31 March - UK government Home Office - NHS frontline workers' visas extended so they can focus on fighting coronavirus - "As part of the national effort to combat coronavirus, doctors, nurses and paramedics will automatically have their visas extended, free of charge, for one year. The extension, announced today (31 March) by the Home Secretary Priti Patel, will apply to around 2,800 migrant doctors, nurses and paramedics, employed by the NHS whose visa is due to expire before 1 October.
The extension will also apply to their family members, demonstrating how valued overseas NHS staff are to the UK."

*** April 2020 "Lockdown" ***

3 April - BBC News - Nightingale hospital opens at London's ExCel centre

7 April - BBC News - Prime Minister moved to Intensive Care Unit as symptoms worsen

9 April - The Guardian - Police Chiefs call on No. 10 to tighten UK coronavirus lockdown - (Note: Particular concern arose over differences between "guidance" and the actual law).

10 April - The Guardian - 980 dead in UK hospitals on deadliest day of pandemic yet - A record 980 people were announced to have died in UK hospitals in the preceding 24 hours, taking the total to 8,958

10 April - Telegraph - These are the NHS workers who have died from coronavirus

10 April - Dept. of Health and Social Care - Coronavirus: Personal protective equipment (PPE) plan

11 April - BBC News - Doctors' lives at risk over PPE shortages, says BMA

11 April - The Guardian - Priti Patel says 'sorry if people feel there have been failings' over PPE

11 April - The Guardian - UK political parties unite to demand recall of Parliament

11 April - Byline Times - A National Scandal: A timeline of the UK government's woeful response to the coronavirus scandal

12 April - Easter Sunday - ITV News - UK deaths from coronavirus exceed 10,000. (The figure is deaths in hospital and excludes care homes and in the community).

12 April - The Guardian - Revealed: Value of UK pandemic stockpile fell by 40% in 6 years

12 April - The Guardian - 10,000 coronavirus deaths: don't forget that this was preventable

12 April - Channel 4 News - Interview with consultant - Stay Home or Catastrophic Fallout 

13 April - - The Coronavirus hit Germany and the UK just days apart but the countries have responded differently

13 April - The Guardian - UK missed three chances to join EU scheme to bulk-buy PPE
14 April - Explanation of Coronavirus and how it infects the body. (Posted to linkedin by Chris Daw QC).

14 April - The Guardian - UK triples coronavirus response fund for NHS and public services

14 April - The Independent - What are the views among Ministers on lifting the lockdown?

14 April - ITV News - Why Ministers are finding it so hard to make a plan to end lockdown

14 April - The Guardian - Secrecy around Coronavirus advisory group

14 April - Worldometers - Coronanvirus - UK - reported 12,107 deaths. 

15 April - BBC News - US to halt funding to WHO, says Trump

15 April - The Guardian - Economy could shrink by 35% with 2m job losses.

15 April - The Independent - Keir Starmer urges government to publish exit strategy

15 April - The Independent Editorial - Coronavirus testing - In science as in politics, the first step to understanding a mistake is to acknowledge it. Scientists, though not universally, are often better at doing this than politicians. Hence the admission by Sir Patrick Vallance, chief scientific adviser to the government, that early British success in testing during the coronavirus pandemic was not “scaled up” rapidly enough at a critical moment in the spread of Covid-19.

15 April - The Guardian - UK government has no exit plan for COVID-19 lockdown

15 April - The Guardian - Coronavirus ventilator wins UK approval in run-up to NHS rollout
 - Penlon’s ESO2 device, developed under the codename Project Oyster, will become the first model to get the green light from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), with an announcement expected as soon as Thursday. Formal approval comes amid mounting concern that tens of thousands of ventilators ordered by the government are still awaiting regulatory clearance. 

15 April - The Independent - Captain Tom Moore - 99 year old war veteran raises over £10m for NHS by walking around his garden

15 April - The Guardian - We scientists said lockdown. But UK politicians refused to listen - author Helen Ward (Professor of Public Health at Imperial College London). "For 11 fateful days in March, the government ignored the best coronavirus advice. It must learn from that mistake."

16 April - BBC News - Three week lockdown extension set to be approved.

16 April - The Guardian - Care proceedings rise steeply in family courts during UK lockdown

16 April - The Independent - Report about the Austrian response to coronavirus

16 April -  Worldometers - Coronanvirus - UK - reported that UK deaths had reached 13,729. 

17 April - The Guardian - UK lockdown could last until June, Dominic Raab says - Raab warned the public that lockdown measures could last into June as ministers came under increasing pressure to set out a detailed plan to ease the stringent restrictions.  Setting out plans for a minimum three-week extension to prevent a deadly “second peak” of infections, Boris Johnson’s stand-in said that any relaxation now would “substantially increase the number of deaths”. And dispelling any hopes that the conditions would be lifted entirely before the May bank holiday, he said that there could be ongoing local lockdowns well into the summer to avoid new hotspots emerging.

17 April - The Guardian - Slimmed-down 'virtual House of Commons' to sit next week

17 April - The Guardian - New UK taskforce to help develop and roll-out cornavirus vaccine

17 April - The Guardian - UK to start coronvirus contact tracing again

17 April - The Guardian - NHS staff told 'wear aprons' as protective gowns run out

17 April - The Telegraph - It will be a disaster for the world if China is covering up a second coronavirus wave

17 April - The Telegraph - Peers demand £323 daily allowance to log in to virtual parliamentary proceedings from home  

18 April - Worldometers - Coronanvirus - UK - reported that UK deaths had reached 14,576 - and increase of 847 in around 24 hours.

18 April - BBC News - Coronavirus: Double warning over antibody tests

18 April - New Statesman - The 11 days that may have tragically cost the UK in the fight against coronavirus

18 April - The Times - Lack of clarity over coronavirus lockdown exit strategy treats public 'like children'

19 April - Worldometers - Coronanvirus - UK - reported that UK deaths had reached 15,464

19 April - BBC News - Care home deaths in a week 'double previous month'
 and The Guardian 18 April - Care home COVID-19 deaths may be five times government estimate
19 April - Problems with the provision of PPE continue - The Guardian 18 April - NHS frontline staff may refuse to work over lack of coroanvirus PPE says Unison

19 April - The Telegraph - Why are so many black and ethnic minority people dying from coronavirus? - Despite only accounting for 13 per cent of the population in England and Wales, 44 per cent of all NHS doctors and 24 per cent of nurses are from a BAME background. Of the 54 front-line health and social care workers in England and Wales that have died because of Covid-19, 70 per cent of them were black or from an ethnic minority, according to analysis by Sky News.
Among them was Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, a 53-year-old consultant who warned the Prime Minister about the need for more personal protective equipment (PPE) to support NHS staff during the pandemic.
19 April - The Times - 38 days when Britain sleepwalked into disaster

19 April - Daily Mail - 'Suited svengalis' who help the Chinese government decide which British businesses to buy will be investigated by MPs amid fears Beijing is using coronavirus pandemic to advance its commercial interests

19 April - The Guardian - Impossible for UK to meet Covid-19 testing targets

19 April - The Guardian - Tories on defensive as criticism grows of early handling of coronavirus 

20 April (Monday) - Worldometers - Coronanvirus - UK - reported that UK deaths had reached 16.060 (not including care homes and in the community).

20 April - Department of Health and Social Care - Response to the Sunday Times Insight article
 - the article referred to is 38 days when Britain sleepwalked into disaster

20 April - The Independent Editorial - We cannot wait for a full public inquiry on the mistakes government made over coronavirus - The government must be held to account. There is growing evidence that it delayed its response to the Covid-19 pandemic, probably resulting in more deaths in the UK than would otherwise have been the case.
20 April - The Telegraph - How Britain can avoid a second peak of Covid-19 - and restart the economy

20 April - The Guardian - Boris Johnson missed 5 coronavirus COBRA meetings - Michael Gove has conceded that Boris Johnson missed five consecutive emergency meetings in the buildup to the coronavirus crisis, and that the UK shipped protective equipment to China in February.

20 April - The Guardian - RAF flight to Turkey - PPE - The British government reacted desperately to delays in securing urgently needed supplies of personal protective equipment from Turkey on Monday evening, dispatching an RAF plane in an attempt to force Ankara to release them. The plane, one of three that have been waiting to be dispatched to pick up the shipment of 400,000 protective gowns for NHS staff, took off from RAF Brize Norton on Monday despite earlier ministerial assurances that the matter was on the brink of being resolved.  [My note - I included this item so as to record in this log the involvement of the RAF. I very much doubt that Turkey could be "forced" to release equipment]. 

21 April - Worldometers - Coronanvirus - UK - reported that UK deaths had reached 16,509 (not including care homes and in the community).

21 April - Telegraph - Millions of pieces of PPE are being shipped from UK to Europe despite NHS shortages -Lorries are being packed with masks, respirators and other PPE kit before heading back to supply hospitals in the EU, it has emerged. On Monday night, UK firms said they had “no choice” but to keep selling the lifesaving gear abroad because their offers of help had been repeatedly ignored by the Government.

21 April - The Guardian - Hospital leaders hit out at government as PPE shortabe row escalates - Hospital leaders have directly attacked the government for the first time during the coronavirus crisis over the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) after a desperately needed consignment of surgical gowns that had been announced by ministers failed to arrive.

21 April - The Guardian - At least 100 UK health care workers have died from coronavirus, figres show

21 April - BBC Sport -Liverpool v Atletico Madrid virus link an 'interesting hypothesis'

21 April - The Guardian - Fierce rebuttals mark change to UK Covid-19 media strategy -  Editor of The Lancet accuses No 10 of ‘rewriting history in disinformation campaign’

21 April - Sky News - UK only formally asked Turkey for PPE shipment help on Sunday - after telling Britons it was on its way

21 April - Opendemocracy - Exclusive: NHS using 'flawed' COVID-19 test - missing 25% of positives - Hancock – who promised 100,000 tests a week by the end of April – recently said that “no test is better than a bad test”. Yet the documents reveal that senior government advisers have known for some weeks that the UK’s critical coronavirus test was not entirely reliable.

21 April - Office for National Statistics - Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional: week ending 10 April 2020

21 April - Metro - UK must pass 5 tests to avoid second peak, Matt Hancock says

21 April - LBC - What are the government's 5 tests for lifting coronavirus lockdown?

22 April - BBC News - Government facing fresh questions over EU equipment scheme

22 April - Worldometers - Coronanvirus - UK - reported that UK deaths had reached 17,337 (not including care homes and in the community).

22 April - Coronavirus Restriction Regulations were amended from 1100 hrs.

22 April - The Guardian - Hancock's department 'warned No 10' not to publicise PPE shipment

22 April - The Guardian - UK government accused of cover-up over EU scheme to buy PPE

22 April - The Guardian - Starmer grills Raab over care home deaths in first virtual PMQs

22 April - The Independent - Thank goodness parliament is back - it's time for ministers to be put under real pressure

23 April - BBC News - Study to track infection and immunity levels

24 April - Worldometers - Coronanvirus - UK - reported that UK deaths had reached 18,738 (not including care homes and in the community)

24 April - BBC News - Virus tests not available to millions of workers

25 April - Worldometers - Coronanvirus - UK - reported that UK deaths had reached 19,506 (not including care homes and in the community)

25 April - The Guardian - Has the government broken the law by putting NHS staff in harm's way?

26 April - Worldometers - Coronanvirus - UK - reported that UK deaths had reached 20,319 (not including care homes and in the community). The daily figures continue to be high and offer no reason to hope that "lockdown" restrictions can be sensibly eased soon. It is possible that many deaths will arise indirectly because the demands of coronavirus are being felt in other medical areas such as oncology - BITV News 26 April

The future of the UK economy is beginning to be discussed to a greater extent - The Guardian 25 April - Johnson faces lockdown dilemman as scientists warn over grim virus data.

26 April - The Telegraph - Branson races to find Virgin Atlantic buyer

26 April - The Telegraph - Two weeks' quarantine if travelling to UK under plans for 'second phase' of coronavirus response - the late imposition of this requirement is another area where the UK government is likely to face criticism. 

26 April - BBC News - Military to test key workers in mobile units - At least 96 new pop-up facilities, which will travel to care homes, police and fire stations, prisons and benefits centres, are due to be running by May. It comes as the government looks to reach its target of carrying out 100,000 tests per day by Thursday.

27 April (Monday) - Worldometers - Coronanvirus - UK - reported that UK deaths had reached 20,732 (not including care homes and in the community)

Screening of passengers at airports - Many airports across the world introduced coronavirus-related screening by late March - (see Airport Technology) - but the UK did not do so - (see Express 31 March). On 23 April, the Daily Mail reported that demands are increasing to introduce screening in the UK.

"Secrecy" surrounding SAGE continues to be source of comment - The Conversation 25 April. Concern regarding secrecy was raised by the Science and Technology Committee as long ago as 2011 - see Third Report 14 February 2011. The committee recommended (para 152) - Although it may not be appropriate to name some members, we see no reason why the membership of SAGE should be kept wholly secret for civil emergencies. In line with the Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Committees, which states that SACs should operate from a presumption of openness, we recommend that SAGE members and their declarations of interest are published once initial membership has been established.

The American State of Missouri is taking legal action against China - The Guardian 22 April. This is discussed by the Henry Jackson Society.

UK relations with China are under some pressure - Straits Times 17 April and it is said that the UK will rethink its ties with China - Bloomberg 17 April.

27 April - BBC News - Prime Minister returns to Downing Street

27 April - BBC News - UK failed to stockpile crucial PPE

27 April - The Independent - Boris Johnson says lockdown cannot yet be eased and now is time of 'maximum risk'

27 April - The Telegraph - Boris Johnson prepares to share plan for 'refining' coronovirus lockdown this week

28 April - Worldometers - Coronanvirus - UK - reported that UK deaths had reached 21,092 (not including care homes and in the community)

ONS information up to 17 April -  Up to 17 April, there were 19,112 deaths registered in England and Wales involving COVID-19 (11,405 men and 7,707 women). The majority of deaths involving COVID-19 have been among people aged 65 years and over (16,690 out of 19,112), with 41% (6,899) of these occurring in the over-85 age group.

28 April - In 3 articles the BBC looked at the situation in Wales, in Scotland, and in Northern Ireland. Deaths due to coronavirus were stated to be, respectively, 796, 1262, and 1102.

28 April - The Guardian - The goverment's secret science group has a shokcing lack of expertise - It’s only through the persistence of Guardian journalists that we can now identify 23 participants in Sage. Of these, 13 are paid government employees, working as ministerial, health or civil service advisers. As such, the presence of their bosses, Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty, to say nothing of the prime ministers’s most senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, might well influence their ability to speak freely.

28 April - The Guardian - Government to name scientists on coronavirus advisory group Sage

On 22 October 2018 the UK government published information about High Consequence Infectious Diseases (HCID). This was amended on 19 March 2020 to state - "As of 19 March 2020, COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious disease (HCID) in the UK."

The Coronavirus Log continues at Part 2 ....... 

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