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The HfP chat thread – Saturday 9th January

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We have decided to run this daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

Historically, the daily ‘Bits’ articles were the de facto repository for random comments and questions.  With the news flow being lighter, we are running fewer ‘Bits’ articles.

The comments under this article are where you should post questions about travel and, indeed, anything else on your mind.  At this tricky time, and given that many of you are at home, we want the HfP community to have a place to chat.

Please only comment under the main articles on the site if your comment is directly related to the topic of the article.  This has long-term benefits as it keeps the commentary relevant for people who read those articles in the future.

Old chat threads are hidden from the HfP home page.  If you want to look for something in an old thread, click here.  This brings up all the articles in our ‘General’ category which includes the chat threads.

Comments (278)

  • Doommonger says:

    Phew I was worried about you there for a moment.

  • Anon says:

    so after vaccination, do you get a certificate to
    Prove it?
    We all know where this is heading to, health passports. Requirements to travel

    • marcw says:

      Total BS. It’s never going to happen.
      Countries will open borders as soon as they believe they have reached an important vaccination threshold.
      It’s a global disease. It’s not endemic to a specific country or region. It’s global.

      • pauldb says:

        Many countries need to prioritise tourism, though not at all costs. And they’ll be behind the UK in vaccination. By the summer they’ll be more data on whether the vaccines prevent transmission (but seems very likely to me). Therefore it seems sensible to reopen to only vaccinated Brits.

        Very few western countries will “force” their citizens to have the vaccine, but it’s easier to require it if foreigners.

    • TGLoyalty says:


      There’s no evidence anyone with a vaccine stops transmission either, therefore I don’t see why it will open up travel to anywhere that isn’t vaccinating a significant number of their at risk anyway.

      In fact not many vaccines actually produce the cells which would stop you transmitting it.

      The vaccine stops you having the severe disease which most people end up in hospital with, and unfortunately die from, therefore taking the pressure off the NHS. The more at risk that take the vaccine the more likely we are to take the pressure of the NHS

      • Rhys says:

        Is there any evidence that the vaccine wouldn’t stop transmission? Or is it just a big “we don’t know”

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Trial is on going and I guess the UK will become and trial in itself.

          If it does produce T cells, how long will the last and then there’s the effect of mutations (common with viruses like this) on that response.

        • The Savage Squirrel says:

          Rhys. It’s basically “we don’t know” or more accurately “we can’t present any evidence that proves this”.
          Our best guess based on other vaccines for similar pathogens is that it WILL be somewhere between a moderately effective and extremely effective at preventing you from becoming infectious in turn should your body encounter Covid19. As Jonothan says though, you really need whole population studies to show this well, which requires large vaccinated populations. For obvious reasons we don’t have those yet.

      • Jonathan says:

        Not really correct.

        It’s very difficult to show a vaccine reduces transmission as you’re looking for something outside your study population.

        The AZ trial did weekly PCR screening for asymptomatic infection so they have shown their vaccine is effective at reducing this. Pfizer chose not to do this which probably explains a significant element of the difference in headline figures.

        It’s very unlikely that you would transmit a respiratory virus if it isn’t detectable on weekly nasal/throat swabs.

        In basic terms, Antibodies are effective at targeting the virus itself whereas T Cells target cells infected with virus. You need both to mount a strong response to a pathogen.

        The Oxford vaccine has been shown to induce high levels of both for up to 8 weeks after a single injection & are boosted significantly by a second jab. An increased dose interval generally causes a more pronounced & longer lasting response which is an argument in favour of the JCVI decision to prioritise wider 1st dose coverage over guaranteeing boosters at 3-4 weeks.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Isn’t the AZ efficacy 62% in the population they tested for asymptotic cases with two full doses?

          • Andrew says:


          • TGLoyalty says:

            You’re right they were symptomatic

            Among the participants, there were 131 cases of symptomatic COVID-19. This included 30/5,807 (0.5%) in the vaccine group, and 101/5,829 (1.7%) in the control group.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            SD/SD cohort (62·1% [95% CI 41·0 to 75·7]; 27 [0·6%] of 4440 vs 71 [1·6%] of 4455) than in the LD/SD cohort (90·0% [67·4 to 97·0]; three [0·2%] of 1367 vs 30 [2·2%] of 1374), which remained after accounting for differences in age and time between doses.

            Although efficacy was lower (58·9% [1·0 to 82·9]) against asymptomatic infection in the LD/SD cohort (and unfortunately only 3·8% [−72·4 to 46·3] in the SD/SD group), the results nonetheless provide some hope that COVID-19 vaccines might be able to interrupt some asymptomatic transmission, although fewer data (69 cases among 6638 participants) were available with this outcome and more data are needed to confirm.

            Source: The Lancet.

    • ChrisC says:

      There are already vaccination requiments for some countries.

      Look up yellow fever vaccination for starters

      • TGLoyalty says:

        That’s because it’s cheaper you to get the vaccine if you are visiting areas at high risk of catching yellow fever than it is for everyone globally to have it.

        • memesweeper says:

          I thought it was because countries that had eradicated it did not want non-inoculated people coming in.

          In any event, there is not any certificate for coronavirus from the NHS (yet) and I doubt there will be a vaccine certificate requirement for travel anywhere in 2021.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Most countries/areas that require a YF vaccine from UK citizens are all high risk of you catching it.

          • Nick_C says:

            Would be easy enough for certificates to be produced retrospectively, as the immunisation is recorded on your patient record.

            Rather that a certificate, a safer system would be an access code for a third party to verify the vaccination on line, in a similar way to a car hire company checking your driving license record by using the unique code you provide them with.

            I wonder if antibody certificates would be the way forward.

          • Callum says:

            Its incredibly unlikely anyone would accept it as proof of anything given its just a bit of card, but I did get a card with the vaccine batch number, date of injection etc on it.

  • Nick Booker says:

    I have been reading the comments about Police/Policing on here, I retired Oct 2019 after 30 years as a DC last 20 on a Murder team. Interesting how people ‘claim’ to know the law, I was amused/baffled yesterday about being detained/arrested comments. I also note the Police in Derbyshire might be claimed to be ‘over zealous’ or ‘heavy handed’ in their approach. I am not defending their actions but Derbyshire is one of the poorest forces in the Country, they like most other forces are run ragged trying to enforce whatever interpretation of the law is subject to little guidance or leadership from above
    Maybe the Cops who stopped the 2 females had just about enough for one day, again not defending them, but the guidance is stay at home, not drive 5 miles to a local beauty spot, where many other similar people might be heading for.
    People might say, as often heard “Haven’t the Police got better things to do” or
    “What about my crime” maybe if people stopped wasting their time in having to be stopped from driving somewhere they should not have they might just get to deal with other stuff.
    Bottom line is they are damned if they do or if they don’t, oh and as for acquittal rates Snaresbrook Crown was running at 86% at one time, they were ‘queueing’ to have their cases heard there

    • Rob says:

      I don’t want to suggest that Derbyshire police are thick as too short planks, although the evidence was clearly there from lockdown 1 when the Chief Constable said he was going to send police into supermarkets to sort through people’s trolleys and take out non-essential items, but I would imagine the bit about ‘guidance’ not being ‘the law’ is covered fairly early and fairly often in training.

      • Colin MacKinnon says:

        Interesting in Scotland that Covid Maggie – Margaret Ferrier, the MP who travelled by train back to Scotland from London after having a positive Covid test – has now been charged.

        But not under the Covid rules.

        A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “We can confirm that officers today arrested and charged a 60-year-old woman in connection with alleged culpable and reckless conduct.

        For some reason, the Met decided not to press charges and referred the matter to Police Scotland.

        Is the Procurator Fiscal in Scotland more street smart than the CPS? In Scotland they seem to be relying on the tried and tested charges, rather than risk an interpretation of the Covid rules.

      • Anna says:

        The problem is that new legislation comes out all the time and there’s no formal process to ensure that cops and PCSOs are even aware of it. This goes right to the top as chief officers are generally too preoccupied with the strategic stuff (and tweeting) to be bothered with actual legislation. Officers who make an effort to familiarise themselves with new legislation sometimes have to tactfully point out to senior managers that they don’t actually have the authority to do something they are being asked to do, because they’ve bothered to find out!

        • Chris Heyes says:

          Anna to add to the joval thinking, i read (about 10 years ago)
          That all four wheeled vehicles had to be on the road, not allowed on the pavement
          Not sure if that is still law now, but apparently it meant that perambulators (Prams) is/was in Law couldn’t travel on pavements by law. not sure if it’s still in law or has been repealed ?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      5 miles is local for many and not everyone has the luxury of living in a nice area with lots of recreational space.

      Saying they were fed up or tired is making excuses. They are there to uphold the law not just make them up.

    • Anna says:

      Nick, after 30 years dealing with crime you should know that something is either legal or it’s not! The police have no powers whatsoever to enforce guidance and It wasn’t our job to “interpret” legislation, but to enforce it (or not, as we always had discretion).
      Derbyshire has failed to be issued with its efficiency certificate from HMICFRS for several years and doesn’t seem to have made much progress in the interim!
      You are absolutely right about forces being run ragged, but this is only exacerbated by officers wrongly issuing FPNs which then have to be withdrawn. I spent many years feeling like I’d had enough by the end of a shift but it didn’t suddenly make me lose my ability to know the law and apply it professionally.
      I didn’t see any comments yesterday about being detained and arrested so can’t comment on that!

      • Nick ex cop says:

        Anna I have a rough idea🤔😂 I think, you may have a view, that discretion is a thing of the past as its implementation often ends up with being stuck on. I was in the fortunate position of being a ‘ suit’ so think the only FPN I issued was 29 years ago in probation.
        I am sure you didnt lose that ability at end of shift but I might argue the job is a bit different nowadays( not the use of common sense) and Police seem to be shifted at the whim of their leaders.
        On a personal level, nice to hear of another ex Job colleague on here

        • Anna says:

          Lol yes I was wondering if you even knew they don’t use FP books any more 😂.
          Use of discretion is still very much a thing but it tends to come with experience! But this wasn’t even an instance where discretion would be an option, there was no offence full stop. As for telling folk they can’t take a drink with them 🤦🏻‍♀️

          • Chris Heyes says:

            Anna another story from the past in my younger days around 21/22
            i was set on for laughing at a fight whilst walking past, gave him a hiding lol But a police officer intervened and arrested us both, but in the police officers statement “he said we was arguing and he told us to move along” (total lie) he said we was fighting and he warned me twice (total lie)
            When i received charge sheet, i said i would be calling a friend Police Cadet Shaw as a witness (he was walking just behind me with his girlfriend) i was visited at home by a police sergeant.
            Who told me in no uncertain terms that although i could call PC Shaw as my witness it would not help his career as it would be police v police.
            The sergeant said the statement put forward would be altered (Which i think is totally illegal) to he came across us both on the floor
            told me the charge would be causing affray only if i pleaded guilty and i would just be bound over for 12 months
            The police officer who lied on his statement would get a strong talking to
            That is my only offence ever lol, but don’t trust the police either
            My friend PC Shaw left the force shortly after because he got his girlfriend pregnant (she was 17) and wouldn’t marry her
            The police was transferring him to Liverpool not a nice part as well
            The best part of the story is the arresting officer who lied is married to “MY step daughters, sister-in-law ” lol No longer in police force lives near Hollands pies Haslingden way, we have a laugh about it now but not funny at the time

  • bafan says:

    Just came back from a run and the supermarket was packed, the streets were packed. Nobody seems to care and I dunno if the police enforcing it more will help matters. They really screwed up last year with Cummings and that whole affair.

    • Rob says:

      Hyde Park is rocking today, I can confirm. Very quiet down at Buckingham Palace though if you want to have a look through the gates in peace.

      • Optimus Prime says:

        Greenwich Park is packed every weekend from 9:30am. Not a single spot available at the car park either.

      • Andrew says:

        Oh dear. We really will be in this forever won’t we! Everyone blames Boris and of course the government has made a lot of mistakes but the other half of the blame rests with the British people and the inability to do anything that remotely inconveniences them. Just stay at home!!!!

        • Bazza says:

          Seems even the doctors on here can’t grasp this “stay home” message.

      • Nick says:

        Well I’m fortunate enough to live in Richmond just 5 minutes walk from the park. This afternoon the top of Richmond Hill close to the park gates was overrun with people as was the riverside in the centre of Richmond. Social distancing was impossible. Utter madness and I don’t think the people were local but had travelled from elsewhere in London………..but perhaps they consider that local?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      People do still have to eat. I don’t recall them being very quiet in April 2020 tbh

      But It’s not just the Cummings affair.

      I think the November lockdown and subsequent non-ravelling for everyone but London followed by Xmas but no Xmas has really worn people down.

      • Dom says:

        I think the government did a terribly hyperbolic job with what this disease is and how it spreads – it isn’t Ebola – and yet you would think you were at risk of imminent death from going outside based on government advice. Of course it is serious but when you’re overly hyperbolic and most people recover just fine from it – I think people start to look at the government sideways. Putting Chris DimWhitty on tv is not helpful. Sensible advice that most people can reasonably stick to would be more helpful.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Plenty post on here who have bought it hook, line and sinker. It’s Ebola on steroids.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Well just been for my first trip since 30th Dec and it was all very quiet and civilised.

  • Mike says:

    How many countries are permitting citizens to be released from quarantine if they can prove a previous Covid infection? Ie herd immunity, one of the forms of immunity along with vaccines.

    I can only think of one.

    • Tracey says:

      It quite the same, but the Maldives exempts you from having a negative PCR test if you can prove you have had Covid within the previous 3 months,

    • Cat says:

      Prior infection doesn’t give long term immunity. I have two friends who’ve had it twice now (one a doctor, whose cases were confirmed, she’s a bit fed up TBH, and the other whose second case was confirmed, but she say her rather awful and painful symptoms were identical to how she felt in March).

  • Jody says:

    @Anna I was medically retired in 2017 after 16.5 years in the job. I was honestly glad to get out with both funding and morale at rock bottom. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like for officers who’ve had to work through the pandemic. Thanks to my pension and my husband working I consider myself very fortunate that I don’t have to work. I’ve had some other medical conditions come on since retiring which would make work pretty tricky, so I’m quite happy to just stay at home and see what I can learn from HFP!!

    • Jody says:

      Sorry, thought that was going to go on the end of the run of comments, but clearly messed that up!

      • Anna says:

        Sounds like we’re on the same wavelength! I managed to retire on my 50th birthday with the pension I’d accrued and don’t regret for one minute leaving when I did. My OH is a DI and still expected to attend murder scenes and the like while being told he’s not a priority for vaccination or even testing!

        • Nick ex cop says:

          Which Force Anna?

          • Mark says:

            Imagine having Ex cop in your name tag , some people just love to feel important in their own heads 😂😂😂

        • Jody says:

          It’s rubbish isn’t it? Glad you got out!

          I was just a lowly DC when I was retired, but I still considered myself lucky compared to my colleagues who were run ragged on the street. Even in the 16 years I was in the job things changed so much, and not for the better unfortunately.

          Be nice for your OH to have a DI’s pension when he retires though!

        • Doommonger says:

          All very illuminating and an interesting insight into the exploits of plod/cps, perhaps now can we get back to miles and points. Did you mention you managed to retire at 50 (again)

          • Nick ex cop says:

            Congratulaions you can read, yes she did say retired at 50, the issue with that?

          • Rob says:

            Bit poor really, go into banking and you can go at 40 🙂

          • kitten says:

            Need a hug ? 🙂

          • Nick_C says:

            “The comments under this article are where you should post questions about travel and, indeed, anything else on your mind. At this tricky time, and given that many of you are at home, we want the HfP community to have a place to chat.”

            The rudeness that permeates these threads on a daily basis is uncalled for. I guess a lot of people are suffering from mental stress, but there is no need for the gratuitous offensive comments.

            But these threads would be a better place if we did stick to loyalty schemes and travel, and left our views on politics, brexit, and other contentious issues at the door.

          • old bob says:

            Yes indeed, travel related please, do you think Nick ex- cop was a member of the flying squad?….. I’ll get me coat!

          • Anna says:

            It was directly pertinent to the pension regulations so Jody & Nick would understand why I mentioned it. Nothing’s stopping you from just reading the posts on points and miles, though a lot of other people have made (constructive) contributions to the threads on Covid legislation and enforcement recently.

          • Chris Heyes says:

            Doommonger Just thought I’d mention I retired at 50 as well lol
            Just for your interest lol

        • Chris Heyes says:

          Anna it would be really funny if you was in Blackburn Force although you’d be to young to be in when i was that young lol
          I used to go and watch the Police football matches Pc Shaw played for them and then to Witton Inn for illegal drinking sessions lol
          Can’t get done when with around 12 police men lol
          Bytheway Pc Shaw was not the person in other story’s
          my cousins OH was a Di at Blackburn Micheal Melia unfortunately Cancer took him young around 43 i think or earlier

  • mark2 says:

    If anyone is interested, I bought a John Lewis gift card using Paypoint on 7th Jan, received an email a few minutes later and statement credit on 8th. Gift card not yet received.

  • Yawn says:

    I booked a return flight to Kuala Lumpur for June combining the BA sale with the Lloyds Avios voucher. I’d seen for weeks now that the fights were cancelled but Avios only got in touch this week. They were offering a specific Malaysian Airlines flight or a refund but the Lloyds upgrade voucher would have a March book-by deadline.

    Any suggestions? Ideally would like to reschedule for September. Tbh, even back in October I was sceptical that things would be normal by June and it was mostly the need to preserve the voucher and the exceptional offer that persuaded me. Is not replying till May/June an option?

    • Charlieface says:

      You are entitled under EC261 to demand a rebooking at a date that suits you

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