The lack of vaccination in the rest of the world is far more important now than a few % points between European states but for those interested, Spain has now overtaken the UK on % of population fully vaccinated. Has best performance of 50 largest countries by population.
One of the reasons for that is that Spain already opens its vaccination programme to 16-17 year olds. They're planning to open to other teenagers before school resumes in September. Mirrors approach in several other European states- UK sticking with 18+
Assuming that continues to be the case and given so many others European states are doing the under 18s, over time is likely the UK will continue to slip down the table.
Extraordinary day of testimony from Capitol Police on Jan 6th attacks. Sergeant Gonnell: “All of them-all of them were telling us ‘Trump sent us.’” Officer Hodges: “It was a white nationalist insurrection.” Officer Dunn: police were subjected to repeated racial abuse, incl n-word
Officer Fanone on much of Congressional GOP: “The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful. Nothing, truly nothing, has prepared me to address those elected members of our govt who continue to deny the events of that day, and in doing so, betray their oath of office”.
Officer Hodges repeatedly described the attackers as “terrorists.” When challenged as to why he did so, he said they fulfilled the dictionary definition of the term as someone who seeks “to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion."
Licence fee barely moved for 10 years, something called for by lots of newspapers (indeed they usually want far more significant cuts) and then outrage as, guess what, the BBC can’t afford to do certain things. telegraph.co.uk/olympics/2021/…
In this case the IOC just did a deal with Discovery directly, didn’t even invite bids with traditional public broadcasters, who wouldn’t have been able to compete. BBC Sport directors have been warning about restrictive licence fee settlements affecting sports coverage for years.
Btw I‘ve no objection to it being on Eurosports so long as it’s free to air. I used to work for a commercial broadcaster and feel strongly about how important they are, just as I do about the BBC. It’s the hypocrisy about BBC inevitably doing less sometimes which is the problem.
NEW: UK Covid cases fall for the third day in a row.
Number of infections down by 15,000 or so compared with last Friday.
Picture in Scotland looks more positive still. Very clear sustained reduction in cases now. Number of patients admitted to hospital starting to reduce too.
Changes to restrictions on Monday in England won’t have def into UK numbers yet so this doesn’t tell us everything. But if it’s sustained it’s a better place to be and deal with any stage4 effects than we would have been otherwise.
This is quite the provision of the new self isolation rules for NHS workers on gov.uk. The state is being generous enough to allow someone to leave self isolation for work only to send them back into self isolation for everything else.
It’s been reported that this is the case for other newly exempted workers as well and George Eustice has talked about “test to release to work” but not clear from newly updated guidance.
Assuming that it is/even if it only applies to NHS- questions
1) is this another example of the rules bearing little/no similarity to how humans will actually behave? Ie would anyone actually do that?
NEW: 618,903 pings were sent from the NHS app to users last week in England and Wales. A record.
But the number of venue check ins declined, in England’s case quite sharply. Suggests people are choosing to use the app less.
Given how much infections have gone up you might have supposed the number of pings might have gone up still further. Given that and fall in number of venue check ins, plausible that substantial number of deletions of the app/turning off contact tracing have taken place.
On EWS1 specifically the written statement says the govt's move "paves the way" for EWS1 no longer to be required. But this something lenders require not govt. I've got in touch with some tonight- they're clear they welcome the govt's move but we have no sense of when...
...they might change their policy.
It's also unclear what happens to leaseholders who have already paid out money to for remediation so as to secure an EWS1. Do they get the money back?
And in any case EWS1 is just about cladding AND THIS IS ABOUT SO MUCH MORE THAN CLADDING.
.@columeastwood on the Protocol: “this is the second attempt in one week by this government to put distance between agreements they themselves have signed. Why does he think anyone in Northern Ireland or any other country would trust anything they say from this day forward?”
Eastwood asks this after reminding Brandon Lewis of his previous assurances that NI was uniquely placed to benefit from the Protocol and that there was no sea border between GB and NI.
Brandon Lewis says that it’s right that the govt listens to all of the voices who are saying the Protocol is a threat to the Belfast/GF agreement.
Liverpool becomes only the third place in the world to completely lose its UNESCO status. Quick googling tells me the other two were the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman and the Dresden Elbe Valley in Germany.
That said some there will argue that UNESCO were saying Liverpool had to be frozen in aspic when the city wanted/needed to develop. It’s a tension which has been brewing for years.
Endless paradoxes with Cummings, as ever. He works to make a man he says is an incompetent prime minister. He does so because he thinks it would be dangerous not to honour democracy. Having been democratically elected with big maj,DC says days later he is discussing removing him.
Key exchange below
Laura K: "Some people will be listening to you saying you were thinking of getting rid of Boris Johnson and just wonder who you think you are?"
Cummings: "Possibly but the situation we found ourselves in was that within days the PM's gf is trying...
...to get rid of us and appoint clowns to certain key jobs. Do you just go, OK that's fine or do you say, OK that's a disaster and try and avoid that happening?"
So Mr Cummings believed the survival of he and his core team was more important than the survival of the just....
NEW: Covid related absence in England’s schools continues to increase. On 15th July Covid related absence in English state schools was 14.3%. That’s up from 11.2% on 8th a July and 8.5% on 1st July.
Picture is even worse in secondary schools- was 17.9% on 15 July. This is up from 13.5% on 8 July and 10.4% on 1 July respectively. So going on for 1 in 5 English secondary school pupils off for Covid related absence (not necessarily nor likely because they actually had Covid).
You’ll see that demonstrated here. Vast majority of absence as a result of contact with Covid+ pupil (or suspected), not because they themselves had tested positive.
Doubtless Twitter is going to be flooded with people expressing concern about nightclubs. Whatever you think, do dial down any judgmental comments. Loads of young people have sacrificed a lot in the pandemic and now doing what the govt (rightly or wrongly) is saying they can.
Well all the replies to this demonstrated the grace, understanding and lack of judgment we’ve come to expect on here during this period.
Number 10’s statement this morning: “They will be participating in the daily contact testing pilot to allow them to continue to work from Downing Street."
The Prime Minister, having said that Numbers 10/11 only “briefly looked” at the idea of using the pilot programme (despite No 10 briefing they categorically would be and a cabinet minister defending said action) goes on to urge the public to “stick with the programme.”
The question of coherence (or a lack of it) is at the heart of the govt’s Covid problems right now. Freedom day with pinging still in place. Fully vaccinated in isolation but unvaccinated with full freedom. Domestic restrictions laissez faire yet tough intl travel rules.
It feels as if government is willing us to move to a new stage with much of the old apparatus still in place and without much sketched out in terms of a new system which will enable us to “live with it” as ministers say they want. We’re neither in one place nor the other.
The place we’re in is high vaccination plus high prevalence which has clearly taken ministers but surprise as a result of Delta. But that means it is v difficult if not impossible to, as ministers want, to move the dial back to something “normal” w/o a new plan in place.
Self isolation post pinging is posing enormous difficulties for hundreds of thousands of people/businesses across the UK-see below. PM and Chancellor have been pinged but said they’re taking part in a pilot study which will allow them to keep working in Downing St.
This study may well unlock the same privilege for many businesses. But the political risk is clear. The opposition has already sought to emphasise the idea that there’s one rule for ministers and another for everyone else. You’ll be hearing that *a lot* today.
This govt has been at its most vulnerable precisely when that sense has been at its most acute- Cummings, Hancock etc.
On a disease management level hard to see how govt comprehensively refutes charge that they don’t consider self isolation post pinging as being that important.
-why was it necessary to create a wholly new travel category?
-especially given cases there are so much lower than here?
-Why wasn’t it announced with the other changes this week?
-if it’s about Beta why not place on the red list altogether?
-Crucially, this raises the prospect that even with double vaccination, the government may be preventing or disrupting travel for a long time to come. Is that sustainable?
Am also old enough to remember when the briefing from govt was that the traffic light system would end the stop/start uncertainty of last summer...