Latest updates on coronavirus (COVID-19) in Oxfordshire for the week commencing 11 January. This is a rolling story and it will be updated with any significant developments.
5.00pm on 17 January
In an interview on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that the UK was making “good progress” in ensuring every adult was offered a vaccine by September and “if it can be done more swiftly, that’s a bonus”.
Mr Raab said that he was not aware of any delays to supplies from manufacturers Pfizer and AstraZeneca and that he was “confident we have the flexibility” to deliver enough doses.
“It is an enormous challenge. We are meeting it,” he added. “But we take nothing for granted.”
5.00pm on 13 January
People in Oxford are being urged to stay at home, avoid mixing with other households and abide by the lockdown rules to help curb the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the county.
This comes as 1,564 people were reported to have died within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test in the UK. This is the highest daily published figure since the start of the pandemic, and it brings the UK death toll to 84,767.
In Oxford, figures to 13 January show that Blackbird Leys, Rose Hill and Littlemore all have over 1000 cases per 100,000 population. This is among the highest rates in the country.
Commenting on the numbers, Councillor Louise Upton, Oxford City Council Cabinet Member for Safer, Healthy Oxford said: “These figures are a shocking reminder that the virus is right here on our doorsteps, Oxford families are getting sick and people are losing loved ones. Every time you flex the rules or mix with people when you don’t need to, you’re adding to the risk in your community.
“Our NHS staff are battling to save lives every day, the best way we can help them is to stay at home. When you have to go out, follow the rules on wearing a face covering and give other people space. This really is up to every single one of us to make sure we don’t spread the virus.
“Anyone can be vulnerable, we’re hearing of young people dying or having their health devastated by the disease. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking you can take a risk, we all have to make hard choices to protect each other. I want to thank the vast majority of people who are following the guidance, and remind everyone that we have a part to play in this pandemic. It takes courage and strength to keep following the guidance when we’re tired and life is stressful, those who do are the brave ones in our communities. Together we can do this.”
So far, over 2.9 million people have received the first COVID-19 vaccine.
5.30pm on 12 January
The Home Secretary has said that the lockdown rules in England are tough enough and that “the rules are actually very simple and clear – we are meant to stay at home and only leave home for a very very limited number of reasons.”
In a Downing Street briefing, Priti Patel, the home secretary, says police officers are “now moving more quickly to issue fines where people are clearly breaching coronavirus regulations”. She added: “If you do not play your part, our selfless police officers, who are out there risking their own lives… they will enforce the regulations. And I will back them to do so.”
Ms Patel went on to say: “We are now at a critical stage in our battle against this virus. To protect those that you care about and the capacity of our hospitals, to protect us all, please stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.”
There have been 1,243 more deaths within 28 days of a positive for COVID-19, the second-highest daily total for reported deaths. The only day with a higher number was Friday last week at 1,325. The highest daily total on this measure during the first wave was 21 April, when 1,224 deaths were reported.
In Oxfordshire, there were 13 deaths reported. This brings the total across the county since the pandemic started to 453.
8.00am on 11 January
The new sites, which NHS England said were chosen to give a geographical spread covering as many people as possible, are:
Some 600,000 invites were due to be sent out over the weekend and this coming week to people aged 80 or older who live up to a 45-minute drive from one of the new regional centres, and they will be able to book an appointment online or over the phone.
Matt Hancock said about 2 million people – including about a third of people over the age of 80 – had already been vaccinated and mass vaccination sites are intended to accelerate the process.
The government aims to vaccinate approximately 15 million people in the UK – the over-70s, healthcare workers and those required to shield – by mid-February.
Despite an early setback, patients of Summertown Health Centre, 19 Beaumont Street Surgery and Banbury Road Medical Centre have started receiving their vaccinations last weekend at the Cherwell School North Site on Marston Ferry Road.
The surgeries are also expecting to start delivering the Oxford vaccine at care homes in the city from Monday as part of accelerating efforts to protect the most vulnerable.
Local GP-led vaccinations centres in Abingdon, Henley-on-Thames and Chipping Norton were part of the first wave of 280 GP practices across the country selected to offer the vaccines as they have a higher proportion of people aged over 80 than other areas of Oxfordshire.
Seven GP-led Primary Care Networks (PCNs) were offering COVID-19 vaccinations to people aged 80 and over in Oxfordshire by the weekend of 20 December 2020.
These PCNs are Abingdon, Chipping Norton, Henley-on-Thames, Banbury and three in Oxford City (Oxford Central, East Oxford, and OX3, which covers Barton and Headington). More GP-led PCNs in Oxfordshire are expected to join the vaccination programme.
Dr Kiren Collison, GP and Clinical Chair of Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is exciting to be part of this programme and to start seeing our most vulnerable patients begin to get the protection they need from COVID-19.
“The vaccination programme is very complex and we are working hard to ensure our most vulnerable patients are protected as quickly as possible. Other age groups and cohorts will be offered the vaccination in a phased way, in line with national priorities, but we need to expect this is going to take time.
“Meanwhile, we can all do our bit by continuing to keep ourselves and others safe by socially distancing, wearing a face covering and following the hand hygiene guidance.”
There will be about 1,200 vaccination sites across the country when more GP-led and hospital services open later this week, along with the first pharmacy-led pilot sites.
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