An update now from Taiwan, which has managed to maintain its early successful response, and daily life is largely normal.
Through a combination of early border restrictions, a well-established health and disease control infrastructure, quarantine and mandatory masks, being an island, and some sheer luck, it has recorded just seven Covid-19 deaths since the virus emerged. Of its total 822 cases, the vast majority have been found in returning travellers in hotel quarantine.
Until a pilot passed the virus on to his friend in Taipei – and only his friend – last month, Taiwan hadn’t seen a local case since April last year. Authorities fined the pilot the maximum penalty for failing to provide detailed and accurate information, after he was found to have traveled while infectious without disclosing his symptoms or movements.
Mandatory mask wearing had been expanded to most public places, ahead of the flu season, and in the new year border restrictions were tightened again in response to the emergence of the UK strain.
In the UK, problems with the coronavirus vaccine rollout to GPs were laid bare after it emerged that a surgery visited by health secretary Matt Hancock to promote the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab had not yet received any supplies when the health secretary was there.
On Thursday morning Hancock said doses of the vaccine were being supplied to GP practices across the country as he visited the Bloomsbury surgery in central London. However, he conceded the “rate-limiting” factor in efforts to get people vaccinated was supply from the manufacturers.