Covid insurance, over 70's hearing and Covid airport security

A passenger walks past a sign for the covid testing centre in the Arrival Hall of Terminal 5 at Lond

Passengers arriving from anywhere outside the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man must have proof of a negative coronavirus test and self-isolate for 10 days - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Government needs to act

George Blunden, chair, Revitalise, writes:

One significant way to alleviate the pressure on intensive care beds is to ensure that more care homes accept Covid-19 patients.

I am chair of Revitalise, a charity providing one of the meagre 131 ‘hot’ care homes in England providing step down beds for Covid-19 patients. Each home has to pass additional infection control checks and have dedicated and trained staff. 

However, Revitalise is now being forced to cease providing this service for new patients as no UK insurance provider is prepared to provide indemnity insurance for the provision of care and support to people with Covid-19. Unlike large providers we are just not able to take the risk to “self-insure”, nor should any of us be put in a position to do so. 

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We have been trying to solve this issue with both insurance companies and government for weeks and have been ignored. 

The government has the power to fix this problem and must act swiftly to do so. 

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Older volunteers wanted

Pippa Bark-Williams, associate professor, Institute of Health Informatics, UCL, writes:

I am writing to draw your attention to a study looking at the needs of older people with hearing impairment during lockdown and to request volunteers aged 70 and over.  

For some older people who have been advised to self-isolate for long periods of time during the Covid-19 pandemic, video calling has been a lifeline, helping to keep in touch and reduce isolation and loneliness. 

However, technology is far from ideal and for those with difficulties with hearing, difficulties such as sound distortion, time lags and lip reading can create barriers. 
We are particularly interested in finding out what does and does not help. 

We’ve launched a national survey at UCL (University College London) and we’d love you to take part, whether you use video calls frequently or hardly at all and whether you love them or loathe them (or something in between). 

  • If you are aged 70 or above with hearing loss and happy to fill out a survey (and maybe volunteer to do interviews), click here  Alternatively, email or telephone 020 7679 8904.

Dither and Delay

Navin Shah, London Assembly member, Brent and Harrow, writes:

It has been welcome to see the government finally take action to tighten up Covid-19 security measures at airports.

However, ministers have had 10 months to act and their dither and delay has set back efforts to contain the virus. If controls at our ports of entry are not strong enough, the spread across borders will lead to more strains like those in South Africa and Brazil.

This could compromise our vaccination programme. It is a positive step that travel corridors have been banned and that a requirement has been put in place for those arriving to take a test five days after landing, or to self-isolate for 10 days. But the government should now follow the lead of countries with substantially lower case rates, such as South Korea and Australia, by introducing mandatory testing at airports with a more robust quarantining system.

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