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.
Life in a Coronavirus Pandemic: Terrible Weather in Week 48
It is now week 48 of the coronavirus pandemic and England is still in lockdown. But the vaccine roll-out is gathering momentum and new cases and deaths from COVID-19 are coming down. The weather may be gloomy but the news is cheering as the government begins planning measures to ease lockdown. But we are warned any easing of rules is dependent on continued progress in reducing the spread of the virus.
Life During a Coronavirus Pandemic: Snow and Ice in Week 47
During week 47 of lockdown in England due to the coronavirus pandemic the vaccination continues its roll-out as new, small centres open. At last transmission rates are coming down which could be due to the vaccination programme or the effect of the third national lockdown. Thanks to the arrival of Storm Darcy, the weather is bitterly cold and snow and ice warnings are in place in large areas of the UK. The Prime Minister starts to talk about easing lockdown restrictions but makes no promises. We are constantly reminded we must continue to follow lockdown rules.
Life in a Coronavirus Pandemic: Signs of Spring in Week 46
At the start of week 46 of the coronavirus pandemic England has been in its third national lockdown for a month. At last the daily count of new cases is gradually going down but deaths from COVID-19 remain dangerously high. The vaccine roll-out is going well with new centres opening. But doubt has been cast on the efficacy of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine in people aged over 65. But more vaccines are on the way and existing vaccines are being modified to protect against new variants.
Life During a Coronavirus Pandemic: Week 45 and Vaccine Battles
This week, the 45th of the coronavirus pandemic, deliveries of the coronavirus vaccine to the UK were threatened by squabbles between the producers of the AstraZeneca vaccine and the European Commission. Meanwhile, a third vaccine is approved and two more, manufactured in the UK are showing promising results in trials. The shocking milestone of over 100,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 is passed this week – fulfilling predictions of the medical experts last summer.