Archive | January 8, 2021

COVID-19: ‘Major incident’ declared in London due to hospital pressure

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has declared a “major incident” in the capital due to rising coronavirus cases threatening to overwhelm hospitals.

City Hall said growing infection rates are “putting immense pressure on an already stretched NHS”, with the number of people on mechanical ventilators up by 42% – from 640 to 908 – in the week up to 6 January.

There are 7,034 people currently in hospital with COVID-19 in London – 35% higher compared to the first peak of the pandemic in Spring.

Severe pressure has also spread to other emergency services.

The London Ambulance Service is taking up to 8,000 emergency calls a day now, compared to 5,500 on a typical busy day.

Meanwhile, the UK’s reproductive or “R” rate – the average number of people someone with coronavirus passes it on to – has risen slightly, from between 1.1.-1.3 to 1.0-1.4.

It is based on data up to 4 January, but the government cautioned the latest rate “cannot account for the impact of recent policy changes” such as the lockdown in England.

Mr Khan announced he is “declaring a major incident because the threat this virus poses to our city is at crisis point”.

He warned: “If we do not take immediate action now, our NHS could be overwhelmed and more people will die.

“Londoners continue to make huge sacrifices and I am today imploring them to please stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary for you to leave.

“Stay at home to protect yourself, your family, friends and other Londoners and to protect our NHS.”

More than 800 patients a day are being admitted to London hospitals with COVID-19, the chief executive of NHS England, Sir Simon Stevens, warned at a Downing Street briefing on Thursday.

“That’s the equivalent of a new St Thomas’ hospital, full of COVID patients every day,” he said.

London and the southeast have seen a significant rise in cases in the last month, blamed by ministers on a new variant discovered in the UK that is up to 70% more transmissible – meaning it is easier to catch.

Courtesy of Sky News



Subject to change

Depth: 182 km

Distances: 999 km S of Nuku‘alofa, Tonga / pop: 22,400 / local time: 13:28:44.6 2021-01-08

933 km NE of Kerikeri, New Zealand / pop: 5,600 / local time: 13:28:44.6 2021-01-08
Global view

Spain records lowest temperature ever at -34C coupled with heavy snow

Record Cold Alert

Heavy snow and icy winds blasted Spain as temperatures plumetted to -34.1C, the lowest ever recorded on the Iberian peninsula, the State Meterololgical Agency said on Wednesday.

The chilling temperature was recorded at Clot del Tuc de la Llanca in Aragon in the Spanish Pyrenees at 5.19 a.m., the agency said.

This was two degrees lower than in 1956, when temperatures of -32C were recorded in Estany-Gento, in Lleida, in northeastern Spain.

More heavy snowfall is forecast for much of central and northern Spain with temperatures expected to fall -11C.

A 75-year-old man who got lost after he decided to walk to safety when his car became stuck in a snow storm was rescued by police in Navia de Suarna, near Lugo, in northwestern Spain.

Courtesy of

At least 200,000 ducks killed due to bird flu outbreak in France with a further 400,000 to be culled

Bird Flu

At least 200,000 ducks in France had been culled as of Tuesday amid an outbreak of bird flu and another 400,000 are expected to be culled as a preventive measure, the French agriculture ministry has confirmed to Euronews.

Courtesy of

58,000 birds killed due to bird flu outbreak in Senegal, Africa

Bird Flu

Senegal has reported an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu on a poultry farm, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Thursday.

The outbreak, which occurred in the Thies region east of the capital Dakar, has killed 58,000 birds in the 100,000-strong flock, with the remaining animals culled, the OIE said, citing a report from Senegal’s veterinary services.

Courtesy of

Around 30,000 birds on a poultry farm in Northern Ireland have been culled following the detection of bird flu

Bird Flu

Around 30,000 birds on a poultry farm in Northern Ireland have been culled following the detection of bird flu at the premises.

This marks the first time the disease has been confirmed in a commercial flock in the country since 1998. A 3-mile protection zone has been set up around the farm near Clough in County Antrim by the Department of Agriculture. Northern Ireland’s Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) Dr Robert Huey has initiated disease control measures based on clinical signs and the initial results provided by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) as well as the recent detections of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 in a number of wild birds across Northern Ireland (NI).

Dr Huey said: “The department was contacted on New Year’s Eve by a Private Veterinary Practitioner (PVP) reporting suspicion of notifiable avian disease at a holding in County Antrim. Since then, we have taken samples and initial results from AFBI suggest that notifiable Avian Influenza (AI) is present. We are now awaiting official confirmation from the National Reference Laboratory to determine pathogenicity and strain of the disease.” He continues: “Given the level of suspicion and the density of the poultry population around the holding, it is vital that as a matter of precaution, we act now and act fast. I have therefore taken the decision to cull the birds as well as introduce temporary control zones around the holding in an effort to protect our poultry industry and stop the spread of the virus.” An epidemiological investigation is underway to determine the likely source of infection and determine the risk of disease spread.

Courtesy of