Question Time: Pure Gym CEO calls for vaccine 'acceleration'
Pure Gym CEO Humphrey Cobbold urged the man responsible for delivering that coronavirus vaccine for the Government, Nadhim Zahawi, to ramp up the number of coronavirus vaccinations by reaching out to British businesses which had been “battered” by the virus. Mr Cobbold joined Zahawi on the panel for BBC Question Time’s prime-time return on Wednesday evening and offered the use of his gyms and staff in order to help ramp up the number of weekly doses. He said it was in our “collective interest” as a country to see the country through the latest wave as quickly as possible.
Mr Cobbold said: “There is a willingness across the population and across businesses to do whatever you need, whatever is required to accelerate and deliver this vaccine.
“I’ve got two hundred and seventy sites around the country of gyms. Typically the size of four of five tennis courts. I have got three and a half thousand people on furlough who actually the government are paying mainly at the moment is the reality.
“I’m sure pretty much every business in our situation that has been battered frankly by this virus, our biggest interest collectively as a country is seeing us come through this as swiftly as possible.”
“You guys tell us what you need, we will make what’s available to you, what’s necessary and doing everything in our powers to make that happen.”
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Mr Cobbold continued: “Let’s accelerate the process and be truly ambitious. If we can do a million a week why can’t we do two million a week or three million in a week or four million in a week?
“There is enough people and enough goodwill in this country to make that happen.
“I am absolutely confident of that.”
Appearing alongside Mr Cobbold and Mr Zahawi was Labour Party’s shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds, Government advisor and SAGE member Mark Walport as well as Rachel Clarke an NHS doctor and author.
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On Wednesday, the UK reported more than 1,000 daily virus deaths – 1,041 in total – for the first time since April.
This figure was recorded alongside 62,322 new cases, the highest daily rise since mass testing began.
In total, 77,346 coronavirus deaths have been recorded across the UK.
This comes after Boris Johnson announced at the beginning of the week the entirety of England would go back into lockdown.
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Health officials confirmed patients in England will start to get Oxford and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from their GP surgeries.
The move forms part of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history.
Nadhim Zahawi, minister for COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment, has told Sky News the goal of 13.2 million people requires a “herculean effort”.
So far, 1.3 million doses have been administered across the whole of the UK.
People who live and work in care homes are prioritised first, followed by those aged over 80 and healthcare workers.
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