Life During a Coronavirus Pandemic: Green List Speculation in Week 58
During week 58 of the coronavirus pandemic the papers begin to speculate about the countries that will be on the green list from 17 May the date it now seems certain international travel will be allowed once more. And that travellers returning from green list countries will not be required to self-isolate but they will still be subject to a testing regime. The government is taking measures to ensure the cost of the tests will come down. However, the government misses the deadline for announcing the list of green countries and the promised vaccination passport is already subject to delay. Despite the uncertainty plans are being made for holidays abroad.
Life During a Coronavirus Pandemic: Week 57 Sees Huge Surge of Cases in India
During week 57 of the coronavirus pandemic the vaccination roll-out in the UK continues as many receive second doses of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs. Cases of COVID-19 are coming down and so are the number of deaths. But, tragically, India becomes the new epicentre of the pandemic with record-breaking numbers of cases and deaths day after day. Hospitals have to close due to lack of oxygen and the new, triple mutation of the virus causing this surge is discovered in other countries.
Life During a Coronavirus Pandemic: More Restrictions Lifted in Week 56
Week 56 of the coronavirus pandemic sees England relax some more lockdown restrictions. Town centres come back to life as non-essential shops and businesses open again and cafés, bars and restaurants start serving food and drinks – but only outside. A third vaccine, the Moderna vaccine, starts its roll-out in the UK and will be offered to the under-thirties as an alternative to the OxfordAstraZeneca vaccine due to fears about a link with that vaccine and rare blood clots.
Life During a Coronavirus Pandemic: Week 55 Prince Philip Dies
Sad news during week 55 of the coronavirus pandemic as Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh passes away peacefully at Windsor Castle. The prince, aged 99, was married to Queen Elizabeth II for 73 years and at the time of his death both of them were in residence at the castle. As England is still in lockdown his funeral will be a very scaled-down affair with a maximum of 30 guests and members of the public unable to attend. Meanwhile the suspected link of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine continues to cause concern and the under-30s are to be offered a different vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna.
Life During a Coronavirus Pandemic: #stayathome ends Week 54
It is week 54 of the coronavirus pandemic and England starts to emerged from the third national lockdown. This week is the last day of shielding for millions of the clinically vulnerable. We no longer have to #remainathome but are free to go out locally as often as we like. But travel outside England is restricted by the threat a fine of up to £5,000 for anyone who tries to leave the country before 30 June without "good reason". Concerns about the OxfordAstraZeneca and rare blood clots continue to hit the headlines and some European countries stop giving this vaccine to younger age groups. Regulators continue to insist the benefits outweigh the risks.
Life During a Coronavirus Pandemic: National Lockdown Anniversary in Week 53
We pass a landmark during week 53 of the coronavirus pandemic as 23 March 2021 marks a year of lockdowns due to COVID-19 in the UK. The Prime Minister has set out a roadmap for our emergence from the current, third, national lockdown. But it looks as though Boris Johnson’s plans may be de-railed by problems with supplies of the COVID-19 vaccines as the European Union threatens, once again, to block supplies out of Europe to the UK. A third surge of cases continues to spread across Europe and despite hopeful discussions regarding vaccination passports and quarantine free travel it looks as though holidays abroad may not start mid-May as anticipated.
Life During a Coronavirus Pandemic: EU Resumes Vaccine Roll-Out in Week 52
My coronavirus diary records that during week 52 of the pandemic the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to decline in the UK but the surge of new cases in Europe means some countries go back into lockdown. Supplies of both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines to the UK are under threat of a ban imposed by the European Commission. But the roll-out of vaccines in the UK continues unabated. I spend two days this week volunteering at a local vaccination hub in and the rest of the time exploring the Poole area as spring blossoms around me.
Life During a Coronavirus Pandemic: EU Doubts UK Vaccine in Week 51
Week 51 of the coronavirus pandemic sees the start of a third surge of COVID-19 cases, mainly the Kent variant from the UK. Italy, France and Germany re-introduce lockdowns and curfews. The roll-out of vaccines across the European Union (EU) has had a slow start due to supply problems. Then, this week sees the suspension of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine due to fears that it may be connected to serious illnesses and deaths from blood clots following vaccination. The UK decides to continue its vaccination programme.
Life in a Coronavirus Pandemic: Budget Day in Week 50
During the fiftieth week of the coronavirus pandemic the UK awaits the Chancellor’s Spring Budget. Subtle ‘leaks’ prepare us for some of the major announcements but everyone anticipates increases in personal taxation. So, it is a relief when this does not happen. More money is allocated to support those affected by restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19. NHS staff are angered by a 1% pay rise and threaten to go on strike. And the over-eighties who have received COVID-19 vaccinations are suspected of ignoring lockdown restrictions.
Life in a Coronavirus Pandemic: Snow Moon Lights up Week 49
At the beginning of this week, the 49th week of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, PM Boris Johnson lays out his road map for easing lockdown restrictions. There will be four stages each separated by a five-week period. We are warned that it is crucial we continue to adhere to the rules of lockdown, in particular, social distancing. By the end of the week the unseasonably warm weather has crowds flocking to beaches and parks, social distancing and exercising locally off their agenda. The decrease in new cases of COVID-19 slows down and in some areas the number of cases starts increasing again.