Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Corona in Great Britain: Johnson announces lockdown exit


SThe first of the two vaccinations with the preparation from Astra-Zeneca can, according to a preliminary data analysis, reduce the risk of hospital stays due to Covid-19 by up to 94 percent. That comes from an analysis of several Scottish universities and the Public Health Scotland, which was published on Monday. The vaccine from Biontech and Pfizer reduces the risk of hospitalization with the first dose by around 85 percent.

The values ​​are for the fourth week after receiving the first dose. It was compared how many percent fewer hospital admissions there were for those who were vaccinated for the first time than for people who had not yet been vaccinated. For the study, which has not yet been published in a specialist magazine, the scientists used data from 5.4 million people, which corresponds to almost the entire Scottish population. The period from December 8th to February 15th was taken into account. During that time, 1.14 million doses of vaccine have been administered in Scotland. More than one in five people in the UK have been vaccinated.

“These results have shown a substantial effect in reducing the risk of hospitalization from a single dose of vaccine across the Scottish population,” said Jim McMenamin, director of coronavirus at Public Health Scotland, according to the statement.

The UK has a vaccination strategy of giving as many people as possible a first vaccination. The second dose will not be given for up to twelve weeks. In total, around 17.5 million people in the UK have been vaccinated with a first dose.

Johnson presents roadmap for easing

More details are expected in the afternoon when Prime Minister Boris Johnson presents his roadmap for the gradual lifting of the corona lockdown in England in Parliament. Johnson is aiming for a “cautious” exit.

It is already known that residents of retirement and nursing homes will be able to receive visits from selected relatives or friends again from March 8th. It is also expected that the schools will open on the same date. In addition, meetings between two households outdoors and outdoor activities such as golf or tennis might initially be possible.

“Our priority has always been to get children back to school as it is critical to their education and their mental and physical health,” Johnson said, according to a statement. “We will also create ways in which people can safely meet their loved ones.”

Already more than 17 million first vaccinations

For retail and hospitality, it will be even longer before they are allowed to reopen. All further easing steps should depend on the successful further progress of the vaccinations, a manageable infection situation and that dangerous corona mutants and variants do not spread any further. Since the health sector is a task of the regional governments, Johnson can only decide for the largest part of England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland determine their corona measures independently.

The third lockdown with extensive exit and contact restrictions has been in effect in England since January 5th. Great Britain is one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic in Europe. The government is relying on mass vaccinations. To date, more than 17 million people nationwide have received a first dose – one in three adults.

The infection situation in Great Britain has improved significantly in the past few weeks, but remains at a very high level. 9834 new cases were reported on Sunday. The curve of new infections has been falling quite continuously since the beginning of January. Most recently, the country counted 124 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days. In Germany, this seven-day incidence on Sunday was just over 60.

The statistician David Spiegelhalter from Cambridge University, who is also on the government’s scientific advisory body, emphasized that it was important to allow sufficient time to pass between loosening steps in order to be able to recognize the effects on the infection situation. “Things can change and we have seen that they can change very quickly, and that’s very worrying,” Spiegelhalter told Times Radio.

On Monday, the cabinet should finally decide on the easing before Johnson wanted to present his plan to parliament and the public later in the day.



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