More than 50,000 cases of Covid have been recorded in the UK for the first time since 17 July.

Amid calls for more restrictions, people are being urged to come forward for booster jabs and this at a time when many Third World countries do not have enough vaccine to cope with this global pandemic.  There is an urgent need for the World Health Organisation and member countries to ensure a more equitable distribution of vaccines so that poorly vaccinated countries will not continue to be a reservoir of infection from the virus in the world.

 

Data released on Tuesday shows 38 deaths in the week up to October 15, representing 11.3 per cent. We are just less than three per cent of the overall UK population.

Doctors are demanding that 'Plan B' — which would reimpose rules such as mandatory face masks and working from home advice. Speaking during his visit to the North, Boris Johnson said that the number of infections and deaths being seen were "within the parameters of what the predictions were, given the steps we’ve taken".

The Republic is facing "one of the most difficult winters it has experienced for many years", Health Service Executive chief Paul Reid has warned. He said that the virus was "putting severe pressure" on the hospital system.

There are no paediatric intensive care unit beds available and there are only 11 ICU beds free, he recently told RTÉ. He said that 93 of the 206 ICU beds were occupied by Covid patients, and added that about 57 per cent of the people in ICU had not been vaccinated.

It's time for Health and Social Services to enforce mandatory vaccination for all health and social services staff and lead by example.

In the North, a relaxation of restrictions in hospitality settings could be reversed if they cause a surge in cases, Health Minister Robin Swann has warned.

Mr Swann said he hoped such a move would not be needed and stressed the importance of getting Covid and flu vaccines.  The executive has also agreed that masks will not be mandatory for dancing in nightclubs when they reopen next Sunday after they reopen in the republic.

Travellers returning to Belfast may soon be able to take cheaper lateral flow tests instead of more expensive PCR tests. It will mean that fully vaccinated arriving from a non-red list country will be able to use a lateral flow test on, or before, day two of their return.

The Committee for Health at Stormont met on Thursday past and had a briefing from the Department on the Autism (Amendment) Bill and the Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment ) Bill.

The North had the highest proportion of Covid-related deaths in the UK in the week ending October 15. Data released on Tuesday shows 38 deaths in the week up to October 15, representing 11.3 per cent. We are just less than three per cent of the overall UK population.

On Monday, another four deaths linked to Covid were recorded. Statistics revealed 19 Covid-related deaths had been reported since Friday – one aged between 20 and 39, one aged between 40 and 59, seven in the 60 to 79 age group and 10 aged 80 and over.

I think that  Health and Social Services and the Health Services Executive should decide and enforce mandatory vaccination for all health and social services staff and lead by example.