Covid: Government writes off £8.7bn of PPE and lockdown comes to Tongaon February 2, 2022 at 7:58 am

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Five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday morning.

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday morning. We’ll have another update for you this evening.

1. Government writes off £8.7bn of PPE

Unusable personal protective equipment, supplies not used before expiry dates, and the government paying more for goods than their subsequent value amounted to a £8.7bn spend during the pandemic. That money has been written off by the government, according to the Department for Health and Social Care’s accounts. The purchases were justified, says No 10, with 97% of them suitable for use.

A medical worker wearing PPE at King's College Hospital, London

Image source, PA Media

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2. Lockdown follows Tonga tsunami

A handful of coronavirus infections have emerged in Tonga, which has led to Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni announcing a lockdown. Cases were found in the capital city Nuku’alofa – two fresh ones were at the port where aid has been arriving, following the recent volcanic eruption and tsunami; three others were in one family. The situation on the previously virus-free South Pacific nation is being reviewed every 48 hours.

Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel embarking onto HMAS Adelaide at the Port of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 20 January 2022 (issued 21 January 2022), before departure on Operation Tonga Assist 202 following the eruption of Tonga"s Hunga Tonga- Hunga Ha"apai underwater volcano on 15 January.

Image source, EPA

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3. How are schools coping with Covid?

Covid infection rates are high in children aged 10 to 14, according to figures from Northern Ireland’s Department of Health. So how are pupils, their parents and teachers coping with the disruption? We’ve spoken to a parent and a school principal to find out.

Worthinton family

Image source, Emma Worthington

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4. How Covid changed intensive care

Covid has changed intensive care at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital. The demand is extraordinary, says one nurse. We’ve spoken to three intensive care nurses – Neelam, Niamh and Charlene – to find out more.

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5. Immune system myth-busting

Since Covid emerged, we’ve more often used terms like natural immunity, immunity from vaccines, boosters and side effects. The immune system is complicated – but how much do we really understand? Read more about one of the most common misconceptions.

Antibodies binding influenza virus


Government statistics show 156,875 people have now died, with 219 deaths reported in the latest 24-hour period. In total, 17,428,345 people have tested positive, up 112,458 in the latest 24-hour period. Latest figures show 15,669 people in hospital. In total, more than 52 million people have have had at least one vaccination. Updated 1 FEB.

And there’s more…

Here’s everything you need to know about the current rules and guidance on working from home.

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

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Image source, BBC

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