UK doctors have warned that the second wave of coronavirus will be “professionally and personally cumbersome” with pressure increasing throughout the winter.
The NHS heads and all four British medical officials have written to doctors urging them to prepare for a “prolonged” outbreak of Covid-19 over the coming weeks or even months.
Health care professionals must be flexible, which “may necessitate working in unfamiliar circumstances or surroundings, or working in clinical areas outside of their usual practices,” their letter warns.
This comes at a time when a spokesman for Boris Johnson said at a press briefing in Westminster that the closure of England will not be extended. He stressed that “when the current national measures end on December 2nd, we will return to a gradual regional approach.”
Medicago announces the first results of the new vaccine
Medicago, a Quebec City-based biopharmaceutical company, has reported interim results for a phase 1 clinical trial of a plant-derived vaccine for COVID-19.
The company said results of the trial showed that 100 percent of people developed a promising antibody response after two doses of Medicago’s candidate COVID-19 vaccine.
These are very promising results. “After two doses, the adjuvant candidate vaccine induces neutralizing strong antibodies and cellular immune responses that encourage and support further clinical evaluation,” said Natalie Landry, Medicago’s executive vice president for scientific and medical affairs.
No severe adverse events were reported and reaction events were generally mild to moderate and of short duration.
The Phase 1 clinical trial was a partially blinded randomized study of 180 healthy male and female subjects aged 18 to 55 years.
Quick tests to speed up return to normal life
Health Minister Lord Bethel said lateral flow tests could help life “return to normal life as much as possible”.
He said in a statement: “We have taken a two-track approach to assessing this technology – by experiencing it in the field so that we can understand how best to make these tests available, and by providing our world-leading academics and clinicians to accurately assess their ability to detect the virus.
“I am pleased that both of them are already showing that lateral flow tests can be a very reliable and sensitive technology that we need to help control this virus, and get back as close to normal as possible.”
Rapid Covid tests do the trick
A new study has found that tests for Covid-19 rapid transition are accurate and sensitive enough to be used in the community, including in people without symptoms.
The Department of Health and Welfare said lateral flow tests published in Liverpool as part of a pilot citywide testing scheme have proven to have a specificity of over 99.6 per cent.
Tests can be processed on site without the need for samples to be sent to the laboratory.
Surveying and treatment should be performed by trained personnel, but health officials are now looking into how to self-test, the Department of Homeland Security said.
In addition to trying tests across England, ministers have also mandated reviewing the specificity and sensitivity of tests in different settings.
Scottish students enter lockdown two weeks before Christmas
The country’s Minister of Higher Education said students across Scotland will be advised to go out only for essential reasons and to exercise for two weeks before returning home for the Christmas break.
In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, Richard Lockheed said: “We will advise any student wishing to return home for the end of the semester to voluntarily reduce social mixing for two weeks before returning home.
“That means going out just for basic reasons and playing sports.”
He said there would be “a staggered and early departure, regardless of the current level of the institution.”
“Universities will be required to make any necessary adjustments to the schedule to ensure that in-person tutoring and assessment finishes early enough to allow students to return home at the end of the semester,” added Mr. Lockheed.
“I see that the universities of Scotland have highlighted the overlapping dates of the end of in-person tutoring in Scottish universities from late November to mid-December, so they do not expect a major rush of movement.”
The number of infections in Wales rose by nearly 1,000 overnight
There are another 928 cases of Coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 62,284.
The Public Health Authority of Wales has also reported 45 more deaths, bringing the total number in Wales since the start of the pandemic to 2,108.
Downing Street said Nightingale Hospitals in Harrogate and Sunderland “are ready to receive patients if needed” while Manchester Hospital is operating.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said that the other four Nightingales were on alert, while the National Health Service was considering using hospitals as mass vaccination centers.
“The NHS is also studying the use of sites as mass vaccination centers if and when a vaccine is available for the Coronavirus,” the prime minister’s spokesman said in the Westminster testimony.
PM will gladly receive the vaccine – No10
Number 10 said Boris Johnson would be happy to receive a coronavirus vaccine.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “Any vaccines that are determined to be used will go through a strict series of safety checks, and they will be completely safe for the public to use.
“Thus, the prime minister will, of course, be very happy to take the vaccine himself.”
Number 10 insists the lockdown will end on December 2
Downing Street said the government’s “intention” is to return to the regional system of coronavirus restrictions when the current national lockdown ends in England next month.
This comes after the representatives of the Conservative Party formed a resistance group to pressure the government not to extend the national lockdown.
“When the current national measures end on December 2, we will return to a multi-tiered regional approach,” the prime minister’s spokesperson said at a press briefing in Westminster.
“We are committed to developing our proposals for what this system will look like a week before the current regulations expire on December 2, so MPs will have time to consider them and vote on them.
“But in the meantime, the prime minister continues to urge everyone to come together and follow the rules we set to help bring down the R rate.”
Asked to confirm that the current lockdown restrictions in England will not be extended, the spokesperson said: “It is a statement of the fact that the Bylaws will expire on December 2 and we are committed to giving MPs a vote on the system that will replace them.
“As we have indicated several times, the intention is to return to a regional approach.”
The number of hospital deaths in England has risen to more than 360
The National Health Service in England said on Wednesday that another 361 people who tested positive for the Coronavirus have died in a hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 35,324 cases.
The patients’ ages ranged from 43 to 102 years. All but 20 patients, between the ages of 58 and 95, were aware of underlying health conditions.
The deaths occurred between October 13 and November 10.
Another 11 deaths were reported without a positive Covid-19 test result.
Healthcare workers may have to operate outside of their own fields
The message to doctors says the pressure will inevitably be exacerbated by staff shortages due to illness or care responsibilities, and assures them that regulators will take into account the need for temporary changes in practice.
Health-care professionals must be flexible, which “may necessitate working in unfamiliar circumstances or surroundings, or working in clinical areas outside of their usual practice” which can be stressful.
All physicians are expected to follow GMC guidelines, hospitals and trusts and healthcare leaders “must bear in mind that physicians may need to leave, perhaps significantly, from procedures in place in order to care for patients in the extremely difficult circumstances of the pandemic.”
The letter says that professional health care regulators including GMC “have made a commitment to consider factors relevant to the environment in which the professional is operating, including information relevant to the resources, guidelines and protocols in place at the time”.