We are all focused on taking steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease by wearing masks, washing hands and cleaning/disinfecting surfaces. Some of us are taking steps to improve ventilation and/or using air purifiers. However, none of these actions will stop it from being transmitted from person to person when we breathe, talk, cough, sneeze or when we touch an already infected surface. Remember surfaces can be immediately recontaminated after disinfection.
Better Indoors air disinfection products offer a unique solution. Our patented technology continuously and safely disinfects all of the air and surfaces in an indoor space and instantly destroys viruses the moment they are exposed before they can be transferred to others. This adds a new and unique dimension to your household or office cleaning regime. Our air purifier products also eliminate odours and purify the air of bacteria, mould spores, VOCs and particulates including pollens, house dust, traffic soot and smoke.
Our technology is used all around the world in homes, offices, schools, hospitals, dental/GP offices, care homes, gyms, public buildings, cars, airliners, ships, public transport, food processing plants, warehouses etc. It is completely safe for humans unlike passive ozone generators such as Biozone Airsteril. Shockingly these units are sold by firms like Rentokil Initial and PHS and are used in the WCs of known entities such as McDonalds, London City Hall and TfL which illustrates how far the UK is behind the curve in terms of public knowledge in this area and of indoor air quality standards and regulations. In 2003 our technology was selected by the Chinese government during the SARS outbreak for infection control in public buildings and on public transport and right now urgent shipments are underway to help combat COVID-19.
Click here and complete the form or call 0333 014 7669 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on unit sizing, costs and delivery timescales. Installation is quick and simple. The units have no moving parts and just need to be positioned and turned on.
An analysis of 22 studies reveals that human coronaviruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus or endemic human coronaviruses (HCoV) can persist on inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to 9 days, but can be efficiently deactivated by surface disinfection procedures with 62-71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite within 1 minute.
REME and PHI are similar air purification technologies. REME is more advanced with added capabilities in the area of particulate removal. Both produce a plasma comprised of hydro-peroxides, ionised hydroxide ions and super oxide ions in safe concentrations not exceeding 0.02 ppm – similar to the concentrations found in the atmosphere (0.01-0.03 ppm).This is the heart of the art protected by the patents as all other active products produce oxidisers that are dangerous or rely on dangerous UV-C light. The US, EU and UK STEL (8 hour) limits for hydro-peroxides are between 1 and 2 ppm so these concentrations are a tiny fraction of these. The plasma is distributed throughout the entire indoor space and break down and destroy organics including human coronaviruses on contact through the process of cell lysing – the same process that all surface disinfectants like Dettol rely on. Please note at concentrations of 0.01ppm there are approximately 177,000,000,000,000,000 (quadrillion) hydro-peroxide gas molecules in a single litre of air, which means they are close to one micron apart. So, bacteria, odours, viruses, VOCs, moulds etc. do not have to move far to be hit with one and destroyed. The US EPA recognises hydro-peroxide gas at concentrations of 0.01 ppm as an effective infection transmission control and microbial treatment technology.
REME & PHI have been successfully tested on pathogens and contaminants in the air and on surfaces as the lab test results on the website show (https://rgf.com/test-results/). This is important because deadly pathogens like Norwalk, SARS, MERS, Novel Coronavirus can be transferred to surfaces by touch where they can survive for up to 9 days. The plasma molecules settle on surfaces and kill these deadly pathogens on contact.
The sneeze test proved its uniquely capability to stop airborne infection transmission by killing 99% of all germs emitted from the test subject and travelling at over 100mph before they had travelled 3 feet. This is how our products will prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. No passive air purification technology or cleaning regime can do this.
REME & PHI technologies are completely safe for humans in any indoor setting – domestic, commercial, transport etc and have absolutely no detrimental effect on the human immune system. There have never been any safety issues in over 4 million installations in over 60 countries.
REME & PHI technologies have been extensively employed by the food processing industry for many years. Numerous medical facilities have embraced them to reduce rates of deadly pathogens including H1N1, SARS, C-Diff (9) (11), MRSA, etc. Schools use them as they reduce absenteeism of students and teachers. They have been tested and approved by the US Military and the US Homeland Security. They are also used all over the world in homes and offices, hotel rooms, gyms, restaurants, cars, trains, planes, cruise ships, medical facilities, care homes, doctor and dentist waiting areas, hospitals, public buildings, libraries. In fact any indoor space where humans congregate will benefit from REME and/or PHI. Units can be integrated into existing HVAC systems/duct infrastructure or installed standalone depending on the HVAC strategy and occupancy size/type.
See Products: Advanced Air Purification & Knowledge links on website for more information, documents, press and videos.
Also, check our presentation and research report
A comparison of durability and survivability between the SARS (SARS-CoV-1) and Wuhan (SARS-CoV-2) coronaviruses was conducted in 5 mediums – aerosols, plastic, stainless steel, copper, and cardboard. The results were similar for both pathogens. When transmitted in aerosols both viruses remained viable after 3 hours and can remain on surfaces for up to 9 days with the longest survivability on stainless steel and plastic. Contributors to this research wrote a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine which published their findings on 17 March 2020. Click here to read the report.
Click here to read a similar report from University of Hong Kong School of Public Health entited “Stability of SARS-CoV-2 in different environmental conditions.
Click here to read a technical presentation entitled “Transmission of Viruses in Droplets and Aerosols” dated 20 March 2020.
Better Indoors has argued since the start of the pandemic that the COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted via airborne routes. Click here to read our various letters to UK Prime Minister The Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson MP dated 27 March 2020, 27 April 2020, 12 August 2020, 27 September 2020 and 21 November 2021 affirming aerosol and surface transmission of the coronavirus, explaining the differences between the technologies, describing some of our customer success stories and offering our help and assistance. Click here to read the text of a letter sent to Fraser Nelson, editor of The Spectator on 15 Oct 2020 criticising aspects of COVID-19 mitigation guidance and describing REME technology as the most effective solution for indoor spaces.
Click here to read “It Is Time To Address Airborne Transmission of Covid-19” open letter from 239 scientist signatories to World Health Organisation published on 6 July 2020 affirming aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and asking WHO to address the issue in guidance in context if increasing global infections following relaxing of lockdowns around the world.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US first published information about airborne transmission on its website on Friday 18th Sep 2020. It said COVID-19 could be spread through “respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways and lungs and cause infection. This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads”. It then removed the information on Monday 21 Sep 2020 saying it had been published “in error”.
It then updated its guidance on 5 October 2020 to say “Today’s update acknowledges the existence of some published reports showing limited, uncommon circumstances where people with COVID-19 infected others who were more than 6 feet away or shortly after the COVID-19-positive person left an area. In these instances, transmission occurred in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces that often involved activities that caused heavier breathing, like singing or exercise. Such environments and activities may contribute to the buildup of virus-carrying particles.”
CDC’s latest guidance is also clear about asymptomatic transmission. It says “People who are infected but do not show symptoms can also spread the virus to others”. It also says COVID-19 spreads “less commonly” through contact with contaminated surfaces and “rarely” between people and animals. Further, CDC says people can protect themselves from the coronavirus by staying 6 feet away from others, by wearing a mask that covers the nose and mouth, washing hands frequently, cleaning surfaces and staying at home when sick.
Strong evidence of airborne dispersal is presented in this study by a team from Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden. Performed during April and May 2020 the team examined the ventilation systems including grilles, HEPA filters and ductwork in a number of wards for evidence of SARS-CoV-2 and found it’s genes in all locations. The study concluded preventative measures must take airborne transmission into consideration.
SAGE provides scientific and technical advice to support government decision makers during emergencies and is responsible for ensuring that timely and coordinated scientific advice is made available to decision makers to support UK cross-government decisions in the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBR).
Since the pandemic hit SAGE has published various advisory documents relating to COVID-19.
On 23 October 2020 SAGE Environmental Modelling Group published its paper “Role of Ventilation in Controlling SARS-CoV-2 Transmission” (click to review). The document discusses the importance of ventilation as a mitigation strategy in both new and existing buildings for “far-field aerosol airborne transmission and suggests some methods for improvements. It also mentions some of the drawbacks that should be avoided such as impacts on thermal comfort, health and energy efficiency especially during winter and that ventilation improvements have no effect on surface transmissions. It also states “Research on real-world application of air cleaning and filtration technologies and development of guidance on best practice is urgently needed in order to determine those which are safe and effective” which illustrates the lack of awareness by SAGE of two key approaches that are already considered best practice by some in the UK:
1. Whole building background ventilation improvements that are economical and can be easily specified and retrofitted by suitably qualified industry professionals. The strategy of Positive Input Ventilation referred to in Part F using products that hold the requisite performance and compliance certifications are effective and proven to increase background dilution/displacement ventilation throughout an entire property and are used to routinely used to solve problems of excess humidity (condensation, mould) and indoor air quality problems including airborne allergens, odours, VOCs, radon and other gases and pollutants.
2. There are active air purification technologies (REME and PHI) from RGF Environmental Inc (www.rgf.com) who is recognised as the world’s leading innovator in environmental air and water purification and food safety whose technologies have been in production for over 15 years, are installed in millions of standalone and in-duct products across a wide range of sectors (including food processing) in many countries around the world and have been independently tested for safety and efficacy across all three main categories of IAQ pollutants (microbials including SARS-CoV-2, gases and particulates) by various nationally accredited laboratories and governments. RGF’s active air purification is the most effective solution for viral transmission prevention for indoors spaces available today. Active purification works in every cubic cm of indoor air and surface space simultaneously and continuously. It differs to passive systems like filtration, UVC, Ionisation and PCO which rely on the air passing close to or through them to be treated.
Better Indoors’ combined positive pressure ventilation and active air purification solutions are economical and offer homeowners, landlords and building managers the most effective ability to meet the objectives recommended by SAGE.
The SAGE “Role of Ventilation in Controlling SARS-CoV-2 Transmission” refers to the following relevant documents (click on each to review document):
Safely re-occupying buildings. As businesses start to consider bringing staff back into work premises, a number of issues need to be considered for the safety of everyone entering the building. Government guidelines should be followed.This brief document entitled CIBSE COVID-19 Emerging from Lockdown: Safety Reoccupying Buildings is intended to give business owners, managers and employers an outline of the main areas that need to be considered concerning both safe working practices and the assessment of building services. Ventilation guidanceThe advice in this document entitled CIBSE COVID-19 Ventilation Guidance V4 published 23 October 2020 is for building owners/managers and operators when reopening buildings following a period of inactivity and considering the requirements for the ventilation system.
The government’s modelling group says it is “unclear whether outbreaks can be contained by isolation and contact tracing. If a high proportion of asymptomatic cases are infectious, then containment is unlikely via these policies.”
Advice on mass gatherings is published in a paper from the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M-O) which recommends the government should not close down such meetings.
“The direct impact of stopping large public gatherings on the population-level spread of the epidemic is low”, says the paper, which goes on to suggest cancelling large events could drive people into smaller places where contagion was more likely.
Sage advises the government that restricting activities outside the household other than school and work would delay the peak of the coronavirus outbreak by three to five weeks and reduce overall cases by 50% to 60%.
It reiterates that school closures are unlikely to contain an outbreak, but could reduce the peak, if enacted early enough.
The advisory group also suggests that isolating suspected cases and quarantining households which have been in contact with suspected cases for 13 weeks could delay the peak of an outbreak and could reduce it by around 25%, says BuzzFeed.
Chief medical officer Chris Whitty tells the media that mass gatherings such as sports events and concerts may have to be cancelled, and schools closed for more than two months, if the UK is hit badly by coronavirus, reports The Guardian.
Two days later, Health Minister Edward Argar told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “decisions on large events and whether they should go ahead will be taken at the time on the basis of the evidence.”
Argar added that Whitty was “not saying there is a need for that now”, adding: “He’s been clear there is no reason or need for schools en masse to close.”
Sage writes: “There was agreement that Government should advise against greetings such as shaking hands and hugging, given existing evidence about the importance of hand hygiene.”
“A public message against shaking hands has additional value as a signal about the importance of hand hygiene,” the Sage sub-group, the Independent Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B), said.
The same day, reports The Guardian, Boris Johnson told a press conference broadcast on national television: “I was at a hospital the other night where I think there were a few coronavirus patients and I shook hands with everybody, you will be pleased to know, and I continue to shake hands.”
The government launches the “contain” phase of its coronavirus action plan, described as “detect early cases, follow up close contacts, and prevent the disease taking hold in this country for as long as is reasonably possible”.
The scientific advice published by the government says that cancelling large-scale public events wouldn’t contain the outbreak.
Sage advises the government that introducing social distancing measures could potentially decrease the total number of deaths by around 20% to 25%, and substantially reduce the peak of the infection.
10 – 13 March
Cheltenham Festival starts on 10 March. The following day, Liverpool FC play Atletico Madrid at home, bringing thousands of Spanish fans to the UK.
A video posted on Boris Johnson’s twitter feed a few hours before kick-off shows Dr Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer, saying that “expert modellers” have found large events are not seen as “something that will have a big effect”.
On 12 March, the government’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, tells the BBC’s Today programme that other countries’ “eye-catching” restrictions on mass gatherings were done to reassure the public, not because of scientific reasons, says BuzzFeed.
On 13 March, Cheltenham Festival finishes. “About 150,000 people attended the four-day event in March, which ended 10 days before lockdown measures began,” reports the BBC six weeks later.
David King, the government’s chief scientific adviser from 2000 to 2007, tell the broadcaster it was “the best possible way to accelerate the spread of the virus”.
Modellers at Imperial College London find critical care capacity in the UK will be overwhelmed by the coronavirus outbreak and 250,000 people will die unless social distancing protocols are put in place, Buzzfeed political editor Alex Wickham reveals.
That afternoon, Johnson advises the public to avoid unnecessary contact and travel and stay away from pubs and theatres.
“Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel. We need people to start working from home where they possibly can. And you should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues,” he says. Pubs and resturants are ordered to shut four days later.
Vallance tells a select committee about South Korea’s testing and tracing strategy: “I think that would have been an absolutely brilliant thing to have had in January,” he says. “Public Health England has a capacity of about 4,000 or so [tests] per day. That is clearly not going to be enough going forward,” says Vallance, according to Research Professional News.
The government announces the closure of all schools until further notice.
This is the date that Fergurson now says lockdown rules should have been introduced in the UK, a move that would have resulted in 20,000 fewer deaths, he claims.
Previous advice on social distancing now becomes legally mandatory. The UK lockdown is announced by Johnson on national television.
“From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home,” says the prime minister.
Harries rejects World Health Organisation advice to “test, test, test”, suggesting the WHO advice is aimed at less economically advanced countries, it is “not an appropriate mechanism as we go forward”.
Yvonne Doyle, director of health protection for Public Health England, tells the health select committee the “ship had sailed” on contact tracing by mid-March.
Health secretary Matt Hancock pledges that the government will carry out 100,000 coronavirus tests by the end of the month, reports FullFact.
The government admits that none of the 17.5 million coronavirus antibody tests it has bought work, reports the Financial Times.
NHS England warns that members of the workforce from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds could face greater risk from coronavirus, adding that GP practices should assess these factors in light of “emerging data”.
GPs are advised to look out for possible cases of Kawasaki disease, a Covid-19-linked syndrome affecting children. Paediatricians compiled a case definition of a related inflammatory syndrome that left a small number of children in intensive care, GP Online reports.
The UK surpasses Italy to become the country with the highest declared death toll in Europe, with more than 32,000 fatalities.
Johnson unveils his new “stay alert” slogan, which replaces the original “stay home” message.
Political leaders in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland stick with the old slogan amid concerns that the new message is ambiguous, an opinion shared by communications and PR experts, PRWeek says.
The PM urges people who are unable to work from home to go back to their jobs, while maintaining social distancing.
People are allowed out of their houses for unlimited exercise and to meet one other person outdoors, as long as they stay 2m away. Garden centres reopen.
Quarantine measures are announced, requiring people arriving in the UK to self-isolate for 14 days from 8 June to help slow the spread of coronavirus. Travellers will need to tell the government where they will quarantine, with enforcement through random spot checks and £1,000 fines in England.
The government is also plunged into crisis over the behaviour of senior adviser Dominic Cummings, who breached lockdown measures during a trip to Castle Barnard, near Durham.
Despite a row with teaching unions, the government reopens schools for all reception, year one and year six pupils.
“Groups of six people are now allowed to meet in parks and even in people’s back gardens,” the i newspaper reports.
As the UK death toll tops 40,000, Professor Neil Ferguson, who quit his role as a scientific adviser to the government in May, tells the Science and Technology Committee that deaths would have been 50% lower if lockdown had been introduced a week earlier.
On the same day, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development predicts that Britain will suffer more economic damage than any other country in the developed world.
The first “social bubble” scheme is announced, in which single person households are allowed to meet and stay overnight with another household. It means single grandparents or couples living in separate households are able to meet and stay indoors for the first time in weeks.
Non-essential shops reopen in England, along with zoos, safari parks and places of worship. Rules are introduced ordering passengers to wear face masks on public transport in England.
The government is forced to perform a U-turn over its tracing app and to work with tech giants Apple and Google.
The prime minister announces that from 4 July, social distancing rules will be relaxed to a “one-metre plus” rule as pubs, cinemas and restaurants will reopen.
Following a spike in cases in Leicester, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announces the reintroduction of stricter lockdown measures for the city.
The UK government publishes a list of 59 countries for which quarantine will not apply for people arriving back in England. They include Greece, France, Belgium and Spain, but Portugal and the US are among those not on the list.
The Health Protection Regulations 2020 come into force in England, replacing and relaxing the previous lockdown regulations and giving the Secretary of State powers to make declarations restricting access to public outdoor places.
The NHS predicts that delays to cancer diagnosis and treatment due to coronavirus could cause thousands of excess deaths in the UK within a year.
According to the BBC, scientists suggest there could be “at least 7,000 additional deaths – but in a worst case scenario that number could be as high as 35,000”.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveils a £30bn spending package aimed at mitigating the economic impact of the pandemic, including a temporary reduction in VAT for the hospitality sector, a scheme to pay firms £1,000 for each employee brought back from furlough and a temporary rise in the stamp duty threshold.
As part of the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, swimmers can visit outdoor pools and waterparks.
Nail bars, salons, tanning booths, spas, massage parlours, tattoo parlours and body and skin piercing services are allowed to re-open.
Boris Johnson commits to an “independent inquiry” into the coronavirus pandemic, but adds that now was not the right time for an investigation.
“Of course we will seek to learn the lessons of this pandemic in the future and certainly we will have an independent inquiry into what happened,” he told MPs.
With little warning, the UK government confirms travellers returning to England from Spain will be required to quarantine for 14 days, after a rise in cases there.
The number of coronavirus cases in the UK tops 300,000.
A major incident is declared in Greater Manchester in response to increases in coronavirus infection rates across “multiple localities”.
A review of how deaths from coronavirus are counted in England reduces the UK death toll by more than 5,000, the BBC reports. The recalculation is based on a new definition of who has died from Covid, as previously people in England who died at any point following a positive test, regardless of cause, were counted in the figures.
The same day, figures from the ONS confirm that the UK is in its worst recession since records began.
The government confirms that France will be removed from the UK’s travel corridor after a surge in cases, leaving British holidaymakers with 30 hours to make it home and avoid 14 days of mandatory isolation.
On A-level results day teachers have almost 40% of their A-level assessments downgraded due to an algorithm that used schools’ past performances to help determine their students’ grades.
Matt Hancock confirms that Public Health England, the body tasked with shaping England’s coronavirus response, will be scrapped and replaced with a new organisation with a central focus on external threats to public health, such as pandemics.
In response to an uptick in illegal raves, the government says fines of up to £10,000 will be handed out to those caught organising unlawful gatherings.
Johnson makes a last-minute U-turn on the wearing of masks in secondary schools, saying the government will no longer advise against their use. Instead, it will be left at the headteacher’s discretion. For staff and pupils in local lockdown areas, they will be mandatory in corridors.
The UK records the highest number of daily new coronavirus cases since early June, with a reported 1,522 positive cases.
Anti-lockdown protesters, as well as anti-vaccination campaigners and coronavirus sceptics, stage a rally in Trafalgar Square demanding restrictions be eased.
300,000 children in Northern Ireland return to their classroom for the first time since lockdown was enforced. Millions more in England and Wales heading back during the rest of the week.
Human trials for Oxford University’s vaccine begin in the US, the BBC reports.
Johnson declines to meet a coronavirus victim support group. Representing 1,600 families, Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK are pressing for a Covid-19 inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic and want to meet with the prime minister.
The Guardian reports that Johnson has said he will do so once their “litigation” with the government is completed, but the group claim their letters and lobbying thus far do not constitute legal action.
A total of 2,988 cases of coronavirus are reported in the UK, the largest daily figure since 22 May, prompting fears of a second wave of the virus.
Two days later, Matt Hancock warns of a possible second peak following a “concerning” rise in the number of cases.
The R value, which measures the virus’s ability to spread, rises above 1 across the UK for the first time since early March.
Social gatherings of more than six people are made illegal in England as the government seeks to curb the rise in coronavirus cases.
More than one million people download the government’s new contact-tracing app for England and Wales within its first day of release. The app instructs users to self-isolate for 14 days if it detects they were nearby someone who has the virus.
Sky News, however, reports that within just a handful of days, the app’s developers admitted it had not been able to link more than 60,000 coronavirus tests carried out in England on Friday – just under a third of the total – to its systems.
The global tally hits one million deaths. The UK is at 42,000 deaths and 441,000 cases.
The UK records 7,143 confirmed coronavirus cases in 24 hours, the highest total since 1 July.
A new lockdown rule, making it illegal for households to mix indoors, including in pubs, is introduced in the northeast of England, affecting two million people.
However, Johnson comes under fire for his confusing explanation of the plans, claiming he “misspoke” when failing to clarify whether the restrictions applied to outdoor settings such as pub beer gardens.
A major study by researchers at Imperial College London finds that growth in cases of coronavirus may be slowing down in the UK. The team said the R number appears to have fallen since the introduction of restrictions including the controversial “rule of six”.
A further 6,968 cases and 66 deaths are recorded and the R number rises to between 1.3 and 1.6.
The Department of Health says it is working on a fix for the NHS Track-and-Trace app after users complain that potentially important phone alerts from the app disappear before they can open them.
The total number of coronavirus cases recorded in the UK jumps by almost 23,000 as a result of a glitch in the NHS Track-and-Trace app.
After these cases were added to the official figures, the daily total for the UK rose by a record 12,872 on 3 October, followed by an even bigger spike of 22,961 the following day.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak tells the Conservative Party conference that he will “balance the books” following increased spending during the pandemic.
He said the party could not argue there was “no limit on what we can spend”, nor that “we can simply borrow our way out of any hole”.
The UK records 224,000 new coronavirus cases in a week as Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van Tam warns the UK is at the “tipping point” of its Covid-19 crisis.
England moves to a “three-tier” Covid system, with areas separated based on infection rates and subject to different lockdown restrictions.
The Liverpool City Region, which had 669.5 cases per 100,000 people at the time of the move, is immediately put into Tier 3. Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster announces a four week lockdown.
Talks between Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and the government to negotiate a Covid support package for the city break down. The government confirms that £60m will still be made available for the city.
Wales commences two week-long “firebreak” lockdown, with all residents required to stay at home as much as possible. 1,197 new cases are recorded on the day restrictions are tightened.
Johnson confirms furlough scheme, which was due to finish at the end of the month, will be extended through the month of November as a second national lockdown for England is announced.
Liverpool announces it will pioneer UK’s first attempt at mass testing, with over half a million people set to be swabbed in the city-wide operation.
England enters second national lockdown as cases continue to surge, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland remaining under their own restrictions.
An initial analysis of a coronavirus vaccine developed by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNtech suggests their candidate is 90% effective in protecting against the virus.
UK becomes the first country in Europe to pass 50,000 Covid deaths after a further 22,950 cases and 595 deaths are recorded.
Trials show that the Covid vaccine developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca is 70% effective on the same day that the government publishes its three-tier system for coronavirus restrictions.
Nadhim Zahawi is appointed as Covid vaccine deployment minister.
The three-tier system of Covid restrictions come into force as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, making the UK the first country in the world to approve a coronavirus vaccination.
90 year-old Margaret Keenan becomes the first person to receive a Covid vaccine outside a clinical trial. She will later receive her second dose on 29 December.
Johnson announces that a planned relaxation of Covid rules over the Christmas period will be scrapped for large parts of south-east England, and cut to just Christmas Day for the rest of England. New “tier four” measures are applied to London, Kent, Essex, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, to try to control the spread of a new variant of the virus.
4 January 2021
Johnson announces new national lockdown measures for England due to the spread of a new variant that he describes as “both frustrating and alarming”. Brian Pinker, 82, becomes the first person to receive the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine outside a trial.
Government figures show that more than 100,000 people have died within 28 days of a positive Covid test in the UK.
The government announces mandatory hotel quarantine for people travelling to the UK from a list of high-risk countries.
On the anniversary of the first confirmed Covid case, the government announces that all older people in eligible English care homes have been offered a coronavirus jab – and that just under 600,000 vaccinations were administered on the last day of January.
On the same day, surge testing is launched after 11 cases of the South African Covid-19 variant not linked to travel are found in England.
The UK successfully hits its target of 15 million first-dose Covid vaccinations by mid-February, encompassing the top four priority groups.
The government announces a new vaccination target: to offer all UK adults a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of July, bringing forward the previous target of September.
Johnson lays out England’s roadmap for lifting lockdown, a four-step plan that could see all restrictions removed by 21 June at the earliest.
On the first anniversary of the WHO declaring Covid-19 a pandemic, the UK has recorded 125,222 deaths and over 4.2 million infections, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The UK holds a national day of reflection, one year on from Johnson’s request for people to “stay at home”.
On 25 March, AstraZeneca released its most recent clinical trial results reporting an overall efficacy of 76% against symptomatic Covid-19 after two doses.
The vaccine is made in the UK at two sites in Oxford and Keele. A third plant in Wrexham puts the vaccine into vials and packages it up for distribution. AstraZeneca is working with suppliers in 15 other countries to make the vaccine, including sites in the US, Belgium, the Netherlands and India.
It has been given approval by the UK’s drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and has been granted emergency approval by the World Health Organization (WHO).
A conventional vaccine, using a harmless, weakened version of a common virus that causes colds in chimpanzees. Researchers have previously used this technology to produce vaccines against flu, Zika and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers).
The Oxford jab is the most widely used vaccine in the UK and has also been rolled out across the EU, though the European campaign has been stop-start due to intermittent safety concerns.
The Serum Institute of India has also struck deals to supply the Oxford vaccine to 67 developing countries, including India and most of Africa, in the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation.
CORONAVIRUS: WILL THE OXFORD COVID VACCINE BE THE TRUE GAME-CHANGER?
According to data from a real-world US study released on 29 March, the Pfizer vaccine reduces risk of infection by 80% two weeks or more after the first of two shots. The study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) evaluated the vaccine’s ability to protect against infection, including infections that did not cause symptoms.
The Pfizer jab is mostly made in Belgium. A manufacturing site has also been set up in the German town of Marburg.
The jab has been approved by the UK drug regulator, the EMA and has been granted emergency approval by the WHO.
Most vaccines rely on weakened or inactivated parts of the virus to provoke an immune response in their recipients, but the Pfizer version is synthetic.
It is made using messenger ribonucleic acid (also known as messenger RNA or mRNA). Whereas DNA is where we store our genetic information, mRNA – as its name suggests – transmits information to determine how our genes are expressed.
To put that another way, mRNA essentially puts DNA instructions into action. In the case of the Pfizer jab, the researchers synthesised a form of mRNA that will “cause our own cells to make a viral protein” from the Covid-19 coronavirus, says The New York Times.
Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, France, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Spain, UK, US, Romania, Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Israel, Kuwait, Mexico, Malta, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland, UAE and Singapore.
HOW DOES THE PFIZER CORONAVIRUS VACCINE WORK?
The above CDC study found that the Moderna vaccine also reduces risk of infection by 80% two weeks or more after the first of two shots.
The vast majority of the vaccines are produced in Cambridge, Massachusetts, before being sent to be filled in Catalent’s biologics facility in Bloomington, Indiana, and Baxter’s site in Bloomington, Indiana.
There are also agreements in place with several manufacturing sites in Europe.
The vaccine has been approved by the UK’s drug regulator, the EMA and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Moderna vaccine is, like the Pfizer jab, made using messenger ribonucleic acid (also known as messenger RNA or mRNA).
The UK, EU, US, Canada and Switzerland have bought the majority of the available Moderna vaccines, according to data compiled by researchers at Duke University’s Global Health Innovation Centre.
CORONAVIRUS: MODERNA HAS HAD EFFECTIVE COVID-19 VACCINE SINCE JANUARY
The company said in January that latest trials show the vaccine is 85% effective at preventing the most serious coronavirus symptoms after a single dose and 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe illness.
According to Johnson & Johnson, most of the vaccines are manufactured at a facility in Leiden in the Netherlands.
The vaccine is approved for use by the EMA, the FDA and the WHO.
Like the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the Janssen drug uses a modified adenovirus, a harmless, engineered virus that is injected into the patient. The adenovirus DNA triggers an immune response that helps protect the body from Covid-19 infection.
“Unlike other candidates, however, major US trials have focused on its effectiveness as a single dose,” says The Daily Telegraph. Johnson & Johnson is also conducting a second phase-three trial to look into the effects of two doses of the vaccine.
The US is planning to purchase 100 million additional doses of the vaccine having already shipped out nearly 3.9 million doses of the single-shot vaccine. The EU and the UK also have contracts with Johnson & Johnson.
JANSSEN’S SINGLE-SHOT COVID-19 VACCINE 85% EFFECTIVE
In stage three trials in the UK, the vaccine was shown to be 96.4% effective against the original Covid strain and 89.3% effective against new variants, according to the company.
15,000 people participated in the trial, which was conducted during a period of “high transmission” when the “UK variant strain” discovered in Kent was “circulating widely”.
The Novavax vaccine will be manufactured at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies in Stockton-on-Tees and the GlaxoSmithKline plant in Barnard Castle.
The company is currently seeking approval from international regulatory bodies.
The vaccine works differently from other vaccines currently in use in the UK as it “combines an engineered protein” from the Covid virus with a “plant-based ingredient to help generate a stronger immune response”, Sky News reports.
The vaccine is yet to be rolled out, but the UK has ordered 60 million doses of the vaccine. The majority of the 362 million Covid vaccines ordered by Canada are Novavax doses, while the US and Indonesia are also awaiting deliveries.
According to the BBC, “interim data from late-stage trials in Turkey and Indonesia showed that the vaccine was 91.25% and 65.3% effective respectively”. Researchers in Brazil had said it was 78% effective in their clinical trials, but in January 2021 revised that to 50.4% after further calculations.
The vaccine is largely made at a Sinovac factory in Beijing.
The vaccine is approved in China and is on the way to getting approval by the WHO, according to a Sinovac spokesperson earlier this month. It is not approved by the UK’s drug regulator, the EMA or the FDA.
Coronavac is a traditional vaccine that uses dead viral particles to expose the immune system to the Covid virus without risking a serious disease response.
According to The Global Times, the vaccine is in use in China, Turkey, Indonesia, Jordan, the Philippines, Algeria and Ukraine. A further 17 countries have also “purchased Covid-19 vaccines developed by Chinese developers”, the paper adds.
INSIDE THE CHINESE COMPANIES VYING TO PRODUCE THE WORLD’S FIRST CORONAVIRUS VACCINE
Interim results of clinical trials in the UAE said the vaccine was 86% effective in preventing infection in early December, but Sinopharm announced later that month that phase three trials of the vaccine showed that it was 79% effective.
Also at a Sinovac-owned factory in Beijing. The UAE is also in talks to produce the China-developed jab.
Chinese medical authorities have approved the jab, as well as the UAE and Bahrain. It is not approved by the UK’s drug regulator, the EMA or the FDA.
Also a traditional vaccine, like the Coronavac vaccine.
Bahrain, China, Cambodia, Egypt, Hungary, Jordan, Macao, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe are using the vaccine.
CHINA BOOSTING LEVERAGE OVER COUNTRIES WITH TARGETED VACCINE DIPLOMACY
Based on the numbers of confirmed Covid cases from 21 days after the first dose of vaccine, the vaccine is 91.6%, according to a study published in The Lancet.
Most of the doses currently in circulation were produced at the newly opened Moscow-based “R-Pharm”, which has the capacity to produce ten million doses a month. India-based pharmaceuticals giant Virchow Group has also signed a deal “to produce 200 million doses of Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine a year”, according to The Moscow Times.
Russian drug authorities have approved the vaccine for use. The EMA began a rolling review of its safety in early March, while the FDA and UK drugs regulator are yet to approve its use.
Like the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Sputnik V is based on a modified version of a common cold virus that “is tailored to carry genetic instructions for making the coronavirus spike protein” and “triggers an immune response to protect” against Covid-19, The Guardian reports.
According to Statista, Russia has exported the vaccine to Algeria, Argentina, Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, China, Egypt, Honduras, Hungary, India, Iran and Italy.
Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic stepped down as leader of the country’s ruling coalition over a unilateral deal to purchase the vaccine, while France and Germany have opened negotiations with Vladimir Putin to discuss “cooperation” over vaccines, according to The Telegraph.