Wow it’s Monday again, they seem to come around more and more quickly. I popped out for a pee before Breakfast, you know I hate the smelly litter tray, and it is pleasantly warm, but not too sunny. Anyway back in to eat with the mob, Dom joined us this morning and much to the Little Otters disgust made himself a fried egg and bacon sandwich. Bozzie is back on his “don’t be fat in your fifties” diet. He got offered a choice of Porridge with fresh berries or something which was all nuts, dried fruit and grains which he said was only suitable for squirrels. He was then allowed some Scrambled egg, but no toast, which he moaned about. He has even cut out sugar from his coffee and tea and taken to carrying something called “sweeteners” around with him.
A few interesting things happened over the weekend. It was quite nice weather and English people were free to move around a bit more. Of course most people were sensible and were in family groups and kept up social distancing rules. But there are always some idiots who don’t, like the group who went to a rave in Telford, or the Chelsea Footballer who was arrested at his home “Partying” with a “model” he met online. Police and an Ambulance turned up at his flat at 04:00 on Sunday morning and the Model was taken to Hospital. Neighbours said she had turned up at 20:30 dressed in skimpy lingerie. Perhaps she was a Lingerie Model.
At the Sunday Downing Street Press Conference it was announced that the Government are putting lots more money into the development and production of a Coronavirus Vaccine. Two vaccines are being developed in the U.K., one at Oxford University and one at Imperial College London with the Oxford one being the most advanced with over 1500 people already having been given it. This is the vaccine that has been injected into macaque monkeys and they have developed immunity. Astra Zenica have contracted with Oxford University and are setting up a facility to manufacture the Vaccine in bulk with the aim of having 30 million doses available for the U.K. and 70 million doses for others by September. To do this Astra Zenica have to diverge from the normal vaccine development route. In the manufacture of most vaccines they would wait until all the tests have been completed before thinking about setting up production. But the new government money will allow them to start production immediately the manufacturing facility is ready and to stockpile the vaccine until it is approved.
I hear that the agreement that Astra Zenica has struck is for the first 100 million doses to be sold at cost. But they will have a worldwide licence for ongoing production, paying a fee to Oxford University, after that. The Imperial College vaccine seems not to be so advanced. The Government money is to get them through the initial human testing trials, but they are not expected to commence that before the Autumn and for it not to be available to the public until next year. This is clearly a back up plan should the Oxford vaccine fail to get a license as the first vaccine to market will clean up worldwide.
Bozzie and Dom were discussing who should be the first people to be offered a vaccination if they get the 30 million doses in September. They agreed that NHS workers should be first but even if they vaccinated all 1.5 million employees (including all those who are not on the front line but are administrators and the like) that leaves an awful lot of doses. Should it be “Key Workers” or the Vulnerable? Personally I don’t see any point in vaccinating anyone under 40 until last, as the death rate among that age group is almost nonexistent. They didn’t come to a conclusion other than to agree to refer it to the cabinet.
I know it doesn’t bother you readers who do not live, work or travel to London but Sad Dick has been caught telling porkie pies over the reintroduction of the Congestion and Ultra Low Emission Charges. As I told you last week Transport for London, which he runs, had to get a big bailout from the Government as they were running out of cash, part of which is a £500 million loan. TfL is the body runs all the different forms of transport in London that includes Buses, Tubes, Trams, the Overground, TfL Trains, the Dockland Light Railway, Taxis, private hire cars, Congestion Charges, the Ultra Low Emission Zone and even the hire bikes. As part of his campaign to get re-elected as Mayor Sad Dick put a pause on fare increases. This really stretched TfL’s finances and they were in trouble even before Coronavirus came along to make things worse. Buses were made fare free and Tube passengers numbers were reduced to 5% of normal. They are supposed, by law, to keep a cash reserve, but Sad Dick even let them burn through that until they were on the verge of collapse ensuring he got the money. Then he announced that as part of the agreement with the Government he was reinstating the the Congestion and ULEZ charges as of this morning and that the hour it is in operation would be extended to 10 at night and on Saturdays and Sundays. Not only that the Congestion Change will increase by 30% in mid June. Shortly afterwards a spokesman for the Mayor confirmed that reinstating the charges, changing the hours and the June increase where NOT in the agreement but were the Mayors idea to raise money to pay back the loan.
Watching the TV and listening to the radio this morning they had all sent out reporters to railway stations anticipating crowds packing onto the newly increased train services. They seem to be mighty disappointed that trains were almost empty. On the Euston Station Concourse there were more Railway Staff and British Transport Police than passengers so have people gone back to work. Many of the Tube services have been increased this morning with trains running every few minutes on some lines and no reported crowds.
A video has appeared on line showing water pouring through the ceiling on the new Prince of Wales Aircraft Carrier while in dock in Portsmouth. Fortunately the ship was OK and structurally sound, it was just a leaking pipe that was quickly isolated and mopped up BT the crew. A similar thing occurred on her sister ship Queen Elizabeth when a pipe seal burst.
After weeks of being urged, the loss of taste and smell has been added to list of symptoms recognised as those indicating Coronavirus infection. Many people have been reporting this for two months and it has long been an accepted symptom in many other countries. If this symptom had been accepted earlier I wonder how many cases would have been picked up earlier and the infection not passed to others. I heard someone talking about there actually being about 13 symptoms recognised by the WHO, but only 3 are recognised by the NHS.
On Saturday afternoon BT Sport made a big fuss about showing live Football for the first time since lockdown began. Unfortunately it was German Football and didn’t attract anything like the number of viewers BT Sport were hoping for. The 500,000 watching was even beaten by a repeat of Midsummer Murders which reached 836,000 and Lewis with 886,000 viewers respectively. The Saturday evening game did even worse with only 192,000 viewers.
That bloody baby human woke me up again in the middle of the night, so I’m a bit grumpy this morning and to add insult to injury my Felix was poxy Tuna. When will they realise that I like meat, you only have to look at my teeth to see I was designed to eat meat, I haven’t got webbed feet.
I heard the GKP telling a press conference that he was taking hydroxychloroquine. He seem to upset a number of Doctors who I have heard say it could be dangerous. I wondered if it is dangerous why is it prescribed for Malaria, Lupus and Rheumatics? Then I hear another Doctor say that it can cause side effects when taken along with some other drugs. Well I’m sure the GKP’s Doctor is sensible enough not to give him it if he were taking one of those drugs. Next on is a Doctor who says hydroxychloroquine has not been approved by the FDA for the treatment of Covid-19, but I have read the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorised emergency use of hydroxychloroquine in adults and adolescents weighing at least 110 pounds (50 kilograms) who are hospitalised with COVID-19. I am sure the GKP is an adult and weighs well over 50 kilograms.
Two lots of statistics out this morning. The unemployment numbers for April have jumped by 850,000 and vacancies have fallen. Not really any surprise given the number of businesses struggling because of Coronavirus. It is sure to go up more before it gets better. The news of deaths in care home is a little better and has been falling for the past few weeks. This week it fell very sharply, much more than the MSM expected which has upset them so much that they have been looking for excuses. One said it was a Bank Holiday so the numbers were messed up, but a “expert” said the number was down too much for that to be an excuse.
More moaning about the GKP who has written to the World Health Organisation, telling them to get their act together within 30 days on Coronavirus and China or he will pull their funding permanently. The letter points out that the US is the biggest contributor to the WHO at 15% of their income, we are the 3rd biggest with about 9%, and that the WHO is very China oriented.
Last night 10 MPs quit Macaroons En Marche party and joined an independent group. This took the number of En Marche MPs down to 285 and robbing them of an overall majority as it all the opposition MPs were to vote together they would total 289. This sounds a bit like what happened to Saggy with MPs quitting for other parties. The Macaroon Government is facing a lot of criticism for its handling of the Coronavirus situation and last weekend the Yellow Jackets were back on the streets. Could Macaroon be heading in the same direction as Saggy?
Bozzie was practicing for Prime Minister Questions at Breakfast this morning with Dom throwing random Questions at him and him trying to answer them with losing his temper. He did once and suggested that Stoma was a supercilious shit. Dom ticked him off and said that was just the response that Stoma wanted. I’ll try and watch in the office later and see if the practice helped
Rolls Royce announced that they are talking to the Unions about making 9,000 workers redundant. The Unions aren’t very happy but it’s all a knock on effect of the Coronavirus. The Virus has caused lockdown and lost less people flying, that has meant the airlines laying people off, parking planes and cancelling orders for new aircraft. Consequently both Airbus and Boeing are reducing the number of aircraft being produced and there by hangs Rolls Royce’s troubles. If less aircraft are being sold the demand for new engines drops and if aircraft are parked and not being flown the engine maintenance and repair work drops. Unfortunately the redundancies are inevitable however much the unions complain.
As of today, unless you deliberately opt out, you are all on the organ doner list. Before today you all had to opt in, with the change in the law you have to opt out, just as the do in Wales. The number of organs available for transplant has gone up since the Welsh law changed and it is hoped that the same will happens in England. The law in Scottishland is expected to follow suit soon. I’m happy that there isn’t a transplant list for cats, I’d hate to think that someone was harvesting my organs after l’d died, anyway in cat years I’m getting quite old so I doubt anyone wants my organs.
I watched Bozzie on PMQs and thought he did much better this week, he is getting the mark of Stoma. What I want to know is what is so “forensic” about Stoma? Someone said it once and all the MSM have jumped on it and keep calling him “forensic”, I think “supercilious” is a better description.
After PMQs I had a wander round the estate and strolled past the Dreamies girl. She didn’t have any Dreamies but she gave me a handful of Tesco “Pocket Pillows” and they were yummy. They are similar to Dreamies, little crunchie things, but these were delicious chicken and cheese flavour. More please! Then I strolled to my favourite sunny windowsill for a snooze until it was time for me to watch the daily Press Briefing.
It was Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden today, I thought he was quite good. Some of the Ministers and been very Wooded and Robotic but he was exactly the opposite, human and animated even telling one reporter that he had asked two questions in one so he shouldn’t get a follow up question! A couple of interesting thing I picked, the number of deaths was down again and the number of tests yesterday hit a new record of 177,216 in England. It must be getting very near Bozzie’s 200,000 test capacity by the end of the month.
You will of course remember that at the start of the Coronavirus panic 20,000 British Armed Forces we’re drafted in to help. These are the men and women who helped build the Nightingale Hospitals and deliver the PPE. The Ministry of Defence called them the Covid Support Force (CSF). Tonight I read that 12,500 of the CSF are to stand down and return to their units, leaving just 7500 in the CSF. Amongst those being retained in the CSF are Medics, Delivery Drivers and those involved in the Coronavirus Testing Programme. The CSF began a new task this week, delivering Test Kits to Care Homes using 20 specially designated vehicles. In two day they have already delivered 29,000 kits to 190 facilities. This is a real sign that things are getting better.
Two of the things that upset most people in the UK is “free movement” allowing anyone from the E.U. to enter the country and the illegal immigrants crossing the channel everyday in rubber dinghies. Pretty Petal reintroduced the immigration bill in Parliament today that limits entry using a points system. Stoma tried to introduce an amendment that would effectively make the new bill useless. Stoma has learnt nothing, the people of Britain voted to leave the E.U. and free movement in the Referendum and in the General Election. Labour under Steptoe got nowhere with their pro E.U. dogma, how can Stoma possibly think Labour under him is going to win an election if he sticks with losing causes.
Yet another lovely morning, I think it will be another day for windowsill snoozing. Bozzie was having good moan at Breakfast about Mr Motorcar going on about the Coronavirus app. Bozzie explained to the Little Otter that it wasn’t a Government App, it was an NHS App, they wrote it, they choose how it would work and they were testing it, but he was getting the blame. He said the NHS choose a Centralised app so as not have to store loads of data on people’s Smartphones. The Germans would have liked to do the same but their implication of the EU’s data protection law made it impossible. The other problem was that most tracker apps currently only work well on Android phones. Because of the way iPhones use Bluetooth they miss lots of contacts. People need to update their iPhones operating system to a new one which only came out yesterday for any app to be able to ever work properly. People are moaning that the App being tested on the Isle of Wight isn’t working properly, but the NHS always knew of the iPhone problem and the app needs to be updated to make use of of the changes to the way the phone uses Bluetooth. It is the same for all app. and even the Germans are rewriting their app.
I had to laugh this morning when it was announced that we were starting a major Hospital trial of hydroxychloroquine. A number of doctors and nurses are to start taking it in several south coast hospitals as part of a world wide trial. I watched a doctor on the TV saying that the evidence currently was that it when given to people who already had the Virus it had a very small impact on the recovery. But this test was giving the drug to people as a prophylactic and taken this way, there was evidence that it worked much more effectively. So is the GKP correct and will the MSM have to apologise? One other think the doctor said was that it had taken 8 week to set up the trial and results might be available by the end of the year. Why? If they thought it might work two months ago why not try it then and possibly save thousands of lives.
In Scottishland the Universities are in trouble with a combined deficit of over £650 million. Wee Krankie made the choice some years ago not to charge fees to Scottishland students but has failed to fund them adequately. As always the begging bowl is out with the suggestion that UK Government should make up the deficit. Somehow I don’t think Bozzie will take this very well. The SNP made a political choice to keep higher education in Scottishland free and brayed how wonderful their free system was while students had to pay for higher education in England. Students from the rest of the U.K. have to pay £9,250 to go to a Scottishland University but E.U. Students go for free costing about £92 million a year. Can she really expect Bozzie to say yes. Anticipating this outcome the Scottishland Government is contemplating asking for the 100 richest men in the country to each make a contribution of £1 million. Really?
Two British companies are planning to get together to build a massive factory to make batteries for Electric Vehicles. The hope to invest up to £4 Billion to build the factory that they want to be able to produce lithium ion batteries with a capacity of 30 GWh per annum. A site for the factory has yet to be identified but it would be huge employing around 4000 people, this is approximately the same size as the Tesla battery mega-factory in Nevada. At the moment nearly all EV batteries used on British production lines are made in China of South Korea with only a few for high performance cars made in Britain. Jaguar Land Rover and Vauxhall are known to want to source batteries from nearer home and it is estimating that British EV makers could be require batteries with a capacity of 130 GWh per annum. I just hope that the raw materials the factory would need are available.
This afternoon it has been announced that the Government has struck a deal with Roche to supply their Antibody test in bulk to the NHS. This is the test that last week was declared to be 100% accurate and has being undergoing testing at 4 English hospitals. One, in Preston, has been carrying out 700 tests a day on staff but say it would be simple for them to scale this up to do 1000’s everyday. General testing is expected to get underway in the next couple of weeks testing NHS and Health Care workers first and will show if they have had the Virus. I will have to listen in to the Press Briefing later to see if anything else emerges.
AstraZeneca said today that they now have the potential to produce a billion doses of the Oxford Vaccine a year if it is approved. The US government has backed them with $1.2 billion to aid development and production. AstraZeneca also said that they had already received 400 million provisional orders and where in discussion with numerous countries to supply the Vaccine. If they receive sufficient orders they could increase production. The British Government has already placed an order for 100 million doses with the first 30 million off the production line going to them with a provisional date of the end of August, beginning of September. The US would receive the other 300 million ordered doses with deliveries starting in October. The American agreement also covers 30,000 volunteers getting the vaccine in Phase 3 trials this summer. Phase 3 trials normally happen when the drug has passed the previous phases that prove it works and does no harm and are supposed to show its effectiveness compared to the existing treatments before it is licensed. This should not be difficult to pass as there is currently nothing to compare it to.
Some interesting things at the evening press briefing. As reported earlier the Government has contracted to buy Antibody tests from Roche and testing will start next week for NHS staff and Careworkers. The Government has initially purchased 10,000,000 tests but it wasn’t 100% clear if all these test were to come from Roche as they have also have also approved a test made by the American company Abbot Labs. The two test, are lab tests requiring a blood sample being sent away for analysis but are extremely accurate and will not give false positives. PHE have been carrying out some Antibody testing with a panel of volunteers to try to establish what percentage of the population have had Covid-19. These have been old fashioned test that took a lot of Lab processing, but have shown that around 5% of the general population have had it, but 17% of the London population have had it. A company called OptiGene have developed a new rapid Coronavirus swab test. The current swab test takes on average 24 to 48 hours to get a result, of course if you are very lucky the result might be a fast as 8 hours. The new OptiGene test takes 15 to 20 minutes so people can wait for a result at the testing station. The sample is put into an OptiGene patented analysis machine and in 20 minutes the result pops up. There are several versions of the machine, including a portable battery one and one machine can handle up to 300 samples an hour. The OptiGene system has been on a successful test at a Hampshire Hospital and today went into a much wider test over a wider area of Hampshire.
Before I head for my basket there is a bit of good news to report for all you motorists. Motorway service areas are reopening for food and toilets. That means that when you need a break you can now get your KFC, Burger King or Starbucks at 26 Welcome Break Services. Talking of food I need my dinner, so I am off. Night night.
A bit of excitement this morning. The baby human woke me up early so I went on patrol before Breakfast and caught a mouse scuttling along a corridor. I was very gentle with it but it died. I think it must of had a heart attack. So I dumped it in the garden and went for my Breakfast, nothing must come between me and my food.
It looks like quarantine rules for travellers coming into the U.K. are going to be announced this afternoon. Personally I think it’s a daft idea, it looks like it will effectively stop anyone going abroad on holiday as who can afford an extra fortnight in quarantine when they come back from two weeks in Benidorm. Anyway we will see later.
The Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine trial is moving on to a new phase. The data from the 1000 people who have already been vaccinated is expected either next week or the week after, but I suspect it must be looking good for the trial to be moving forward so quickly. I’m sure that if anyone had suffer ill effects we would have heard by now. They are looking to recruit 10,000 volunteers but this time they intend to expand the age range to include children and older people.
I also hear that Doctors at St Thomas’ Hospital in London think they could have made a discovery about the way the Coronavirus attacks the immune system. They have tested the blood of 60 people who have landed up in Intensive Care and found that every single one of them had a very suppressed count of T cells. These cells are the Hunter Killers of the immune system and destroy the Virus. A normal healthy adult has between 2,000 and 4,000 T Cells in a microlitre of blood. The adults in the ICU with Coronavirus had as few as 200 T Cells per microlitre. People with Coronavirus who just need Hospital Treatment but don’t need to go to ICU have around 800 T Cells per microlitre. As people start to recover the number of T Cell increases. So Doctors have been looking at ways to increase the T Cell count and are to start trials using Interleukin 7 which has already been tested in a small group of patients with sepsis and shown to increase T Cells. Let’s hope it works.
The lady who’s idea it was to Crap for Carers on a Thursday evening has said it’s time to stop. She says the idea has run it course and next Thursday, the 10th occurrence, should be the last. I think a lot of people will be mighty relieved if it does ends.
Pretty Petal took the Press Conference this evening. As expected she confirmed that we are going to put incoming travellers into two weeks quarantine from 8th June. There will be a few exemptions like freight drivers, healthcare workers and Irish (because we have a common travel zone). I think she said fruit and vegetable pickers could come in but would have to stay on one farm for 2 weeks. People will have to register the address they are going to be at and are expected to travel there by car. If they are not there when checked on they can be fine up to £1000 and if not British thrown out of the country. I bet that tomorrow I will be writing about how the travel industry is unhappy and say it is going to kill their business.
The news I know many of you want is for the Pubs to reopen. Well today Wetherspoons detailed their plans on opening 845 pubs. They talk about serving staff wearing Masks, Gloves and Eye coverings, holding only the bottom of glasses and till shielded with Perspex screens. There will be one way systems in bars and limitations on the number in toilets. The menu will be pared back, only table orders allowed and condiments will all be in sachets only. No opening date from the Government yet, but Spoons are ready.
Bozzie got annoyed with the Ballboy over Breakfast this morning and turned over to TalkRADIO. Penny Smith sounds nice. All the Ballboy wanted to talk about was how Dom had broken Lockdown rules, by taking his 4 year old to his Grandparents when he had Covid-19. I must admit it was very one sided, all he did was interview an unending stream of opposition politicians who said Dom must resign immediately. The two left wing newspapers who broke the story claimed that he had been warned by the Police. Not a single mention of Dom’s spokesman saying that he had not broken the rules because he and his wife needed emergency child care and they stayed in separate accommodation. Then a Government spokesperson said that Dom’s wife was ill so in order to isolate they went to a house near to Dom’s parents, and other relatives. The relatives had been able to do all the shopping for them and leave it on the doorstep. They categorically stated that he had not been spoken to by the Police. It seems to me that he might have bent the rules a little, but all the people who hate and fear Dom have leapt at the opportunity to try to get him sacked and if the papers have been lying about the Police they need to apologise.
For those of you living in or visiting London, I see you are going to have to pay for bus fares again from today. Some time ago TfL took out the card readers by the central doors on many busses in a move to stop fraud. This meant that all passengers had to get on at the front door so that the driver could see them use their cards. Because of Covid-19 they have closed off the front door to protect the drivers and everyone has to use the middle door. With no card readers it made sense to make the busses free for the few passengers using the greatly reduced service. With people going back to work and the Government bail out TfL has to reinstate fares, hence they are having to rush to reinstall the card readers. It’s the law of unintended consequences.
I suspect that Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards is happy this morning about the fuss over Dom. If it had not been for Dom he would have been all over the headlines this morning. The 44 year old MP for Carmarthen East has been arrested and questioned over an assault and released on bail pending further investigation. He has now also had the party whip removed so will have to sit as an independent until things are cleared up. There is no word about who was assaulted or how badly.
There was a special Coronavirus charter flight today returning 95 Canadians home from the Cayman isles. Two things made it a special flight firstly it wasn’t a Government charter, the passengers had clubbed together to pay for the trip. Secondly there were another 45 passengers on board the Sunwing Airlines flight, mainly Dogs and a few Cats left behind by a previous flight. Another flight is scheduled for July.
The US Navy have been trying out a new Star Wars type weapon on board the USS Portland. A high energy Laser has been successfully tested against a range of targets including patrol boats and a drone that it downed. Film released by the US Navy showed the Laser fire from the deck of the ship and almost immediately setting the drone alight. The US Navy has previously successfully tested low energy Lasers, but this was the first test of a high energy weapon. One advantage of this weapon is that it is also capable of “dazzling” manned attackers.
My last story for the week harks back to Sad Dick blaming the Government for the planned increase in fares in London as a condition of the TfL bail out and loan. Well it turns out that Sa Dick was at it again, he was already planning to increase fares in London by at least 3%. The 2019 business statement from TfL (chairman Sad Dick) said “From January 2021, our plan assumes that fares will rise by around the retail price index (RPI) plus one per cent, to support vital investment in public transport”. RPI is currently 2.5%. He is a hypocrite.
Right it’s bedtime and I’m off to my basket. Back on Monday.
© WorthingGooner 2020
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file