Sunday 31st May 2020

Today’s update includes:

  • Requests & Offers from the Stroud Coronavirus Community Response team & beyond
  • Summary of key local, national and international news

Requests, Offers and Updates from our Facebook group

Summary of key local, national and international news

We are now providing our main summary of local, national and international statistical data on a weekly basis rather than daily

Local

National

  • “From Monday, people who have been shielding in England and Wales during the coronavirus crisis can exercise and meet people from another household outdoors. The Government will publish full guidance on how the 2.2 million extremely vulnerable people shielding from coronavirus can safely venture out for the first time in months.” (ITV News)
  • “A survey of 5,000 school leaders, released today by Tes, formerly the Times Educational Supplement, said a fifth of school staff, including teachers and classroom assistants, would not be able to return to work this week.” (The Times)
  • The Government have now released SAGE meeting minutes
  • Four members of the UK government’s scientific advisory group Sage have expressed concern over Boris Johnson’s move to further relax England’s lockdown from Monday, saying it may be premature and risks a resurgence of infections. 
  • “The Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) said new rules, including allowing groups of up to six people to meet outdoors and in private gardens, were “not supported by the science” and that pictures of crowded beaches and beauty spots over the weekend showed “the public is not keeping to social distancing as it was”… Jeanelle de Gruchy, president of the ADPH, said her colleagues across England were “increasingly concerned that the government is misjudging the balance of risk between more social interaction and the risk of a resurgence of the virus, and is easing too many restrictions too quickly”.” (The Guardian)
  • Daily coronavirus testing capacity has reached 200,000 in time for the government’s end-of-May deadline, Matt Hancock has said. A total of 205,634 tests were available yesterday, including 40,000 antibody tests for NHS staff and care workers to determine whether they have had the virus, according to the Department for Health and Social Care. It is unclear how many of the tests were actually carried out, however.” (The Times)
  • There were 115,725 tests on 30th May, but “The government has failed to disclose the number of people tested for Covid-19 for [over a week], prompting criticism from senior scientists who said this risked a perception that there is “something to hide”.” (The Guardian)
  • “Ministers have been accused of creating a “false sense of security” by launching a test and trace system that is not yet capable of controlling local outbreaks. A series of concerns have been raised over the gaps in the system launched last week, with local health chiefs warning that they have not been given the time, powers or data to prepare for outbreaks in their area. They said that they were given details of their roles just four working days before Matt Hancock, the health secretary, launched test and trace last week.” (The Guardian)
  • “A letter signed by 26 senior scientists and experts, delivered to 10 Downing Street on Friday, warns the government of losing public trust in the ‘messages and messengers’ of epidemic control. ‘This trust had been badly damaged by the actions of Dominic Cummings, including his failure to stand down or resign in the public interest, and Boris Johnson’s subsequent unwillingness to remove him” (Daily Mail)
  • In response to questions about local R estimates, we shared a BBC News piece about Prof Graham Medley, a leading scientist advising the government, saying there was no evidence of differences in the reproduction (R) number across the UK. “Sage (the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies) does plan to publish regional estimates for England of the R number”. Meanwhile, this article also mentions that the South West (which includes Gloucestershire) – along with London – is the region in England seeing the steepest fall(s) in daily numbers of people dying. The comments to this post have some details about minor variation in regional R rates.
  • A reminder that the BBC has a useful summary of new lockdown measures – key points are summarised below:
    • “From Monday in England, you will be able to meet in groups of up to six people from different households outside – either in parks or now also in private gardens – as long as you remain 2m (6ft) apart.”
    • “No changes were announced to the rules on exercise, playing sport or travel in the prime minister’s press conference on Thursday. There is no longer any limit to the amount of time you can spend outside doing exercise, or in “open-air recreation” like sunbathing in England”
    • “People who can work from home in England should continue to do so “for the foreseeable future”. But the government says those who can’t, should travel to their workplace if it is open – and walk, cycle or drive if at all possible, to prevent overcrowding on public transport.”
    • “If you’re a cleaner or plumber, and need to enter someone else’s home for your job, you are allowed to return to work. No work should be carried out in the home of someone shielding or isolating because of Covid-19 symptoms, unless it’s a household emergency. In homes where someone is clinically vulnerable – for example, where a person is aged over 70 – face-to-face contact should be avoided, and strict hygiene rules followed.”
    • “House moves and viewings can resume again in England.”
    • “The Foreign Office currently advises against all but essential journeys, and the government has now said a two-week quarantine period for people arriving in the UK will be introduced “as soon as possible”.”
    • “Childminders and nannies in England have now been told they can return to work – but only if they’re caring for youngsters who come from the same household.”
    • “All non-essential retailers – from department stores to small independent shops – can reopen in England from 15 June, if they put in place social distancing measures. And outdoor markets and car showrooms can reopen from 1 June, if they are “Covid-secure. But the government has said these dates could change if coronavirus infection rates increase.”
    • “Pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, hotels, cinemas and places of worship will open from 4 July at the earliest, as long as they can meet social distancing measures.”
    • “In England, pupils in nurseries, early years and Reception and Years 1 and 6 at primary schools will be able to return from 1 June [Monday]. Class sizes are expected to be no more than 15 pupils, with staggered breaks and frequent hand washing.

International

  • “The number of people infected by the coronavirus around the world has passed 6 million, as the pandemic forced Donald trump to postpone the G7 summit in Washington. According to the latest data from the Johns Hopkins University tracking site, there have now been more than 6,059,000 cases of the disease around the world, with 369,126 deaths. More than 1.7 million of those cases have been registered in the United States, and its continued spread in the world’s richest nation has forced the US president to abandon plans to stage a G7 summit as his hoped-for sign of America’s recovery.” (The Guardian)
  • Spain‘s prime minister said on Sunday the country needed 15 more days of lockdown until June 21 “to finish with the pandemic once and for all”, and he would ask parliament to approve a final two-week extension to the stay home rule.” (New York Times)
  • Brazil reported a record 33,274 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday, its health ministry said, and the death toll surpassed that of France and now ranks only below the United States, Britain and Italy. The South American nation has now reported 498,440 confirmed cases of coronavirus since the outbreak began, a level of contagion second only to the United States.” (New York Times)
  • Coronavirus testing centres in Los Angeles, California have been closed owing to safety concerns amid protests over the death of George Floyd, according to the city’s mayor, Eric Garcetti.” (The Guardian)
  • India reported more than 8,000 new cases of the coronavirus in a single day, another record high that topped the deadliest week in the country. Confirmed infections have risen to 182,143, with 5,164 fatalities, including 193 in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said Sunday. Overall, more than 60% of the virus fatalities have been reported from only two states — Maharashtra, the financial hub, and Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The new cases are largely concentrated in six Indian states, including the capital New Delhi.” (Washington Post)
  • South Korea on Sunday reported 27 new cases of the coronavirus, including 21 from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where officials are scrambling to stem transmissions linked to clubgoers and warehouse workers. The figures announced by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on brought national totals to 11,468 cases and 270 deaths. Twelve of the new cases were international arrivals. South Korea was reporting about 500 new cases each day in early March but seemed to stabilize the outbreak with aggressive tracking and tracing, which allowed authorities to ease social distancing guidelines. A rise in infections in the greater capital area has caused alarm as millions of children have begun returning to school.” (Washington Post)
  • Pope Francis said on Sunday that people are more important than the economy, as countries decide how quickly to reopen their countries from coronavirus lockdowns… “Healing people, not saving (money) to help the economy (is important), healing people, who are more important than the economy,” Francis said.“We people are temples of the Holy Spirit, the economy is not,” he said.” (Reuters)
  • Saudi Arabia‘s mosques have opened their doors to worshippers for the first time in more than two months as the kingdom eased restrictions imposed to combat the novel coronavirus… Worshippers headed to mosques for dawn prayers amid strict regulations requiring the use of face masks and personal prayer mats, avoiding handshakes and standing at least 2 metres (6.5 feet) apart.” (Al Jazeera)
  • “President Trump has announced that he is immediately halting the decades-long U.S. membership in the World Health Organization over its response to China’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic. In a press briefing Friday at the White House, Trump said, “We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs.” NPR asks the question “Does He Have The Authority To Do It?”, noting that “It is an overreach of his constitutional powers,” said Larry Gostin, director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. Gostin said he believes that the president may need congressional approval to terminate U.S. membership in the U.N. agency.”

Notes

Please remember we have a (growing) list of resources to support your emotional and mental health during this time on our website. The following numbers may be useful:

  • Samaritans: 116 123
  • Domestic Violence Hotline: 0808 2000 247
  • Mind: 0300 123 3393
  • Age UK: 0800 169 6565
  • Childline: 0800 1111.

Thanks to everyone who helped create this update through our Facebook group. If you submit posts, we will often decline posting them to the discussion directly and instead hold them till the single daily summary – to try to reduce the number of posts in the feed and make it easier for people to follow the information. Please continue to submit posts to admins for this purpose with a flag REQUEST / OFFER / UPDATE / QUESTION / COMMENTARY