First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We'd like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick

More specifically, we'd like those who can afford to pay to start paying. What it comes down to is whether or not you value Daily Maverick. Think of us in terms of your daily cappuccino from your favourite coffee shop. It costs around R35. That’s R1,050 per month on frothy milk. Don’t get us wrong, we’re almost exclusively fuelled by coffee. BUT maybe R200 of that R1,050 could go to the journalism that’s fighting for the country?

We don’t dictate how much we’d like our readers to contribute. After all, how much you value our work is subjective (and frankly, every amount helps). At R200, you get it back in Uber Eats and ride vouchers every month, but that’s just a suggestion. A little less than a week’s worth of cappuccinos.

We can't survive on hope and our own determination. Our country is going to be considerably worse off if we don’t have a strong, sustainable news media. If you’re rejigging your budgets, and it comes to choosing between frothy milk and Daily Maverick, we hope you might reconsider that cappuccino.

We need your help. And we’re not ashamed to ask for it.

Our mission is to Defend Truth. Join Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

U.K. Is Past Peak of Covid Surge, With 10 Million Vacci...

Newsdeck

Newsdeck

U.K. Is Past Peak of Covid Surge, With 10 Million Vaccinated

Chris Whitty (L) and Matt Hancock (R) head for a COBRA meeting. Both men have tested positive for coronavirus. (Photo: EPA-EFE/Andy Rain)
By Bloomberg
03 Feb 2021 0

The U.K. has passed the peak of its latest wave of the coronavirus pandemic, officials said, as the country reached the milestone of vaccinating 10 million people, about 15% of the population.

By Joe Mayes and Tim Ross

Word Count: 531
(Bloomberg) —“We are on a downward slope of cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said at a televised press conference on Wednesday. “This peak, at least, we are past.”

But Whitty, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said infections are still widespread and the state-run National Health Service would be “back in trouble extraordinarily fast” if social restrictions are lifted.

Britain’s immunization program — the most successful so far in Europe — puts the country on track to provide shots to 15 million citizens and carers at greatest risk from the disease by Feb. 15. Johnson said it will only be possible to begin easing the lockdown three weeks after that date, once those vaccinated have received the benefits of the immunization.

Johnson, who will publish a plan for relaxing the curbs on Feb. 22, said there are “signs of hope” but warned the number of people with the disease is still “alarmingly high.” A further 1,322 deaths were reported on Wednesday.

In other developments:

  • Johnson said he’s “very hopeful” schools will re-open on March 8, though doesn’t want to move too soon and then have to go “in reverse”
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock is preparing to announce further details of travel quarantine plans on Thursday
  • Dido Harding, head of the country’s test-and-trace program, said at least 20,000 people a day in England are failing to self-isolate
  • Johnson said he’d support a statue in memory of Captain Tom Moore, the centenarian who became a U.K. icon by raising money for the NHS

The rapid roll out of coronavirus vaccines is a rare success for the U.K. government in its handling of the pandemic, which has left more than 109,000 people dead and caused the deepest recession for more than 300 years.

Infections

Johnson is under mounting pressure to ease restrictions from lockdown skeptics in his own party who fear shutting up businesses and schools will inflict lasting scars on the economy and society. News that vaccines are effective at cutting transmission of the disease has fueled their argument.

“With better and better news by the day on the vaccination roll out and its effectiveness, the government has got to start addressing its mind to the harms caused by the measures we’re putting in place,” said Mark Harper, chairman of the so-called Covid Recovery Group of Conservative members of Parliament. “Lockdowns and restrictions cause immense damage to people’s health and livelihoods and we need to lift them as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Johnson has promised to review the pandemic response after the priority groups have been given vaccines. Schools will be the first facilities to reopen in England, starting no earlier than March 8 under the government’s plans.

(Updates with quotes, context starting in first paragraph.)
© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Gallery

Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted