It was a year ago this week that a World Health Organisation mission in China found the first evidence of human-to-human transmission of Covid-19. A year on and the impact since that finding has affected the entire world as we have been gripped by the challenges of a global pandemic.
The number of hospitalisations is still growing as we battle the new variant, but we are in a very different position in both what we know and the tools we have at our disposal. Testing didn’t exist a year ago but over 62 million tests have been performed in the UK.
Rapid testing for anyone without coronavirus symptoms has now launched in Hertfordshire and the system to book an appointment is now live. This will help health officials to detect and contain asymptomatic cases.
Most importantly, we have the vaccine and the roll-out continues at pace - 140 jabs are being delivered nationally every minute. The UK was the first country in the world to deliver a jab and continues to be among the countries with the highest vaccination rates. I am pleased to say Hertfordshire is at the forefront of this as it is home to 1 of 17 new mass vaccination centres.
140 jabs are being delivered nationally every minute.
Delivering a vaccination programme on this scale is a huge logistical challenge, and all of those involved in the roll-out in Hertfordshire are doing a fantastic job at great speed, and I would like to thank every single staff member and volunteer.
Thanks to the efforts of those involved more than four million people (at the time of writing) in the UK have received their first dose, –including over-80s, care home residents, and NHS & social care staff. This means that more people have been vaccinated than have tested positive since the pandemic began.
As a result, vaccines can now be offered to those over 70 and the clinically extremely vulnerable as we move to the next stage of the rollout.
We have come a long way since March. There will be new challenges but by following the guidance we are making huge strides in our fight against this awful virus.