Web site logo c. 123-mcc.com

 Angus and Rosemary's Miscellany

  of Malvern - Other Resources

World logoBlogs >

Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic weekly update for Malvern Seniors

Click to read our observations on politics and world events

15th May 2022



Over the last two years we have been keeping an eye on the published government figures and monitoring the media to asses the likely level of risk for Seniors in the Malvern Hills district and providing links to where further information could be found.

During the epidemic Public Health England was split into the UK Health Security Agency and Office for Health Improvements and Disparities. However for simplicity we have continued to refer to this as PHE data.

Now the worst of the epidemic is over the numbers are of far less importance, but we'll carry on with our blog for a while. Testing is being run down and the public is increasingly not recording the result of Lateral Flow tests so the daily cases reported on the Coronavirus Dashboard grossly underestimate the true situation.

The best sources of data indicating direction of travel are now:

  • The ONS infection survey

  • Registered deaths (ONS, NHS)

  • NHS hospital bed occupancy, and

  • The Zoe Health Study

For the time being this page will continue to be updated each weekend using Friday's data, nominally with Sunday's date.



How to get vaccinated

More about vaccinations

Number of cases

Number of deaths

Healthcare numbers

Forecast for the week ahead

Longer term outlook

Advice for seniors


Further information:

How to request a COVID test

About the Zoe Health Study

About the NHS contact tracing app

About the NHS COVID pass

Summary of links

Menu of archived pages


We seem to be well on our way out of this epidemic in the UK and all the indicators are pointing in the right direction. Most healthy people have stopped taking COVID precautions, but clinically vulnerable individuals with low immunity may still be taking care to protect themselves.

New daily cases have fallen steeply in the last fortnight seemingly as the weather improves,  natural immunity builds up, and the virus finds fewer people to infect, but there are signs the fall has been slowing in recent days.

NHS COVID bed occupancy has been declining at about 20% per week, while the rise in the Omicron death rate reported by ONS, linked to the recent spike in cases, has levelled off and is beginning to fall.

Don't forget the prevalence of COVID is still relatively high and you may catch COVID-19 during the next month or so despite being fully vaccinated. Some may show no symptoms or feel a little rough and quickly get over it. Others could feel very poorly and spend a few days in bed, with it taking five to ten days or so to recover. However, except for frail elderly patients, the clinically vulnerable and unlucky we are unlikely to be hospitalised and the good news is our resistance to future infection should be greatly increased by natural immunity.

Some of those who have caught COVID report reduced stamina and endurance, and feeling tired for several weeks afterwards; so when exercising don't exceed your limits, eat wisely, and allow time to recover and build up your strength gradually.

To counter vaccine waning amongst the most vulnerable, a second COVID-19 booster jab is available to Seniors aged 75+ years known as the Spring Booster. There are about 5M people to vaccinate - most have already had the vaccine, and this programme should be completed by the end of May.

Some surgeries are offering the Spring Booster, but if not you should be able to get it at the Three Counties Showground.

Click for information about Walk-In Clinics

Click for information about the Spring Booster

Click to view our advice

Click for Worcestershire Dashboard and associated links

How to get vaccinated

By now we expect most Seniors are fully vaccinated.

Children aged 5 - 11 years can be offered the vaccine, though only 7% have had a first dose in England so far. This may be because either they have been recently infected or their parents are not keen.

All those aged 16+ years can book a booster 3 months after their second dose.

Click NHS link - Who can get a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine

For information about walk-in centres in Worcestershire go to the website:


and click the Vaccine Rollout tab at the top of the page.

Click for information about vaccination at the Three Counties Showground

Otherwise either see the NHS website for walk-in opening times and vaccine availability:


Or click this link for more information and to book a vaccination on-line:

Book a Coronavirus vaccination - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Or talk to your GP.

More about vaccinations


 Our bar chart below shows the total number of:

  1. first jabs;

  2. second jabs;

  3. booster and third jabs;

  4. for comparison, the population of the UK broken down by age band.


COVID vaccination bar chart

Vaccinometer as of 8th April 2022

People are still coming forward to be vaccinated, but the rate is so slow expect to see little change to this chart during 2022.

Vaccination statistics can be found on the Vaccination tab of the Coronavirus Dashboard.

First booster jabs

The government says everyone aged 18+ years has been offered a booster jab. To date about 50M have had two doses, and 40M booster doses have been administered, suggesting 10M still to boost in the UK; but those under 16 years are not yet eligible so there are probably 6M or so still to get a first booster. A booster is essential to protect Seniors from the Omicron variants and hospitalisation.

Spring booster jabs for Seniors

Those aged 75+ are eligible for a second (Spring) booster which ideally should be 6 months after the first booster. For the youngest in that age group that should be by the end of May.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 after 1st February 2022, and therefore have acquired a degree of natural immunity to Omicron, you may want to consider whether or not you need a second booster. Should you decide to go ahead, you must wait at least 28 days after infection before getting the jab.

You should be contacted by the NHS and invited to book your spring booster when it's due - our invitation came by email a few days ago. Try to book an appointment around 6 months after your last dose to get the best protection from your Spring Booster (check the date on your vaccination card).

New Court Surgery is currently not offering Spring Boosters so you may have to book your booster at a mass vaccination centre, such as the Three Counties Showground, either on-line or by phoning 119.

There are also walk-in appointments at the Three Counties Showground (see links in 'how to get vaccinated section' for days and times). Clinics may be suspended during large events.

Click to book a Coronavirus vaccination - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Good progress is being made and roughly 4M of 5M Spring boosters had been given up to 12th May.

Click for NHS England COVID-19 Vaccinations

Note: we have used the England figure and added 17% for other nations.

Protection against hospitalisation

After 3 months the vaccines give little protection from catching the Omicron variant of COVID-19 but importantly they do protect from going on to develop severe illness.

The UKHSA COVID-19 vaccine surveillance reports indicate the possible effectiveness of the vaccines.

Note: the information is somewhat sketchy for the recent Omicron variants which fortunately cause less severe illness but this section gives a rough idea of the value of vaccination.

To quote from an earlier report:

Two doses of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccines was associated with a vaccine effectiveness of only 25 to 35% against hospitalisation following infection with the Omicron variant, after 25+ weeks.

After a Pfizer booster, vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation started at around 90% dropping to around 85% after 4 to 6 months.

Effectiveness against mortality

The protection offered by the vaccines against death is less clear to us, but our reading of the reports is that if you are taken into hospital and have had only 2 jabs there is roughly a 50% chance you might die compared to the unvaccinated. However after a Booster the relative risk is reduced by a factor of 10.

Most people who die are aged 75+ years and most of these are triple vaccinated; this simply reflects that most of those who die are elderly, most of the elderly population is vaccinated, and the vaccines are not 100% effective.

Here is a link to the latest report so you can make up your own mind about the effectiveness of the vaccines.

Click for UKHSA COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report Week 19, 12th May 2022

Note: the next report will be in a months time, on 16th June 2022.

Vaccinations Worldwide

A chart of the worldwide vaccination situation can be found on the Our World in Data website.

Click for worldwide statistics

Hint: click the country list on the left hand side of the screen to add or remove countries from the chart.

Orange triangleNumber of cases

There are now three sources reporting the prevalence of COVID-19 in the UK.

  • The ONS which conducts a weekly random survey by collecting nose and throat swabs from the public for PCR tests, and analysis for variants.

  • The ZOE Health Study, whereby participating members of the public log their symptoms, tests and vaccines.

  • PHE data gathered from PCR testing and NHS registered Lateral Flow Tests which underestimate infections by a factor of 6 or so.

ONS infection survey

ONS estimated that 1,204,100 people in England had COVID-19 in the week ending 7th May 2022; about 24% less than the week before.

Click for Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK: 13th May 2022

Date published Prevalence (England) Ratio of people with COVID
6th May 2022 1,586,900 1:35
13th May 2022 1,204,100 1:45

Prevalence of COVID-19 in England estimated by ONS

The infection rates are a tad higher in Wales and Scotland.

Zoe Health Study

The ZOE Health Study figures are shown in the following table.

  Prevalence (UK) Estimated new infections per day
Last week 2,207,208 121,849
This week
1,824,770 119,640

Prevalence of COVID-19 in UK estimated by Zoe Health Study

According to Zoe, in the last week, prevalence in the UK has fallen by 17% but the number of new daily infections by only 2%.

The Zoe data suggests, after falling steeply, cases next week could level off at 100,000 new cases per day and possibly rise.

Numbers testing COVID positive in Worcestershire (PHE)

Note: section deleted due to COVID testing being run down in the UK, but figures can be found on the Worcestershire Coronavirus dashboard - these greatly underestimate the number of infections.

Click for Worcestershire Coronavirus Dashboard

Directional arrowNumber of deaths

Statistics on COVID deaths are published by Public Health England, The Office of National Statistics, and NHS England. These can't be directly compared as  they cover different periods, but together the figures paint a picture of the direction of travel - which is that deaths have levelled off and are just beginning to fall.

PHE figures

Public Health England reports there were 1,389 COVID (28) deaths in UK hospitals and care homes in the last week, by date reported, roughly the same as the previous week.

Click to view the UK government Coronavirus Dashboard

ONS figures

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) reports registered deaths in England and Wales where COVID-19 is mentioned somewhere on the death certificate. The ONS figures lag the PHE figures by 10 - 14 days and do not include Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Note: the figures include cases where COVID may only have been a secondary cause of death.

Click for national ONS data on deaths (Excel spreadsheet)

The ONS figures are broken down by District providing a glimpse of where deaths are occurring. The provisional cumulative total of COVID related deaths in Worcestershire reported by the ONS up to 29th April (week 17 of 2022) is shown below.

Note 1: the numbers are from the ONS Death Registrations-Pivot table which gives the total deaths reported in any week.

Note 2: because the registration of deaths is sometimes delayed that is not exactly the same as  a similar metric - deaths by date of death.

Districts of
Week 17 Population
Bromsgrove 164 142 28 1 98,529
Malvern Hills 61 98 39 1 77,545
Redditch 108 109 24 3 85,317
Worcester 87 134 27 1 103,542
Wychavon 157 154 40 3 126,240
Wyre Forest 171 132 35 3 100,957
TOTAL 748 769 193 12 592,130

Provisional cumulative COVID-19 deaths in Worcestershire registered by ONS to 29th April 2022

Note: summation of rows 9 to 339 of the ONS deaths Registrations-Pivot table.

There was 1 death in a care home in Bromsgrove; 1 death in care a home in the Malvern Hills;  3 deaths in hospital in Redditch; 1 death  in  hospital in the city of Worcester; 3 deaths in hospital in Wychavon; and 2 deaths in care homes and 1 in hospital in Wyre Forest.

In England and Wales 1,123 COVID-19 related deaths were reported in the week to 29th April, 83 more than the week before and a rise of 8%. Of these 255 were in a care home, 108 at home, 21 in a hospice, 726 in hospital and 13 elsewhere.

The next chart shows how ONS deaths still appear to be rising. The increase this week is probably due to the delayed registration of deaths during Easter as figures for registered deaths by date of death show the death rate has peaked and fallen slightly.

Chart of ONS deaths

ONS deaths 'by week reported' in England and Wales 2022

In comparison averaged over recent years 1,700 people die daily from all causes, so COVID deaths  are still significant representing about 10% of all deaths.

Click for ONS Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest insights: Deaths

NHS England figures for Worcestershire

The table below shows the latest COVID deaths in Worcestershire hospitals reported by NHS England on 13th May 2022. Because the numbers are small they tend to go up and down week to week.

Worcestershire Cumulative deaths Past week
Acute hospitals 1,070 8
Care hospitals 74 0
TOTAL 1,144 8

Click for NHS COVID-19 total announced deaths

Note: look for COVID Total announced deaths sheet, then select tab Deaths by Trust

Risk of COVID-19 death by age band

NHS England provides an analysis of COVID-19 deaths in hospital in England and Wales by age band. Shown below is a snapshot of 8,378 recent deaths for the period 7th January 2022 to 19th March 2022 when most of these deaths will have been from the Omicron variant.

Age band Number of COVID deaths % of deaths
0 - 19 19 0.2
20 - 39 81 1.0
40 - 59 557 6.7
60 - 79 2,804 33.5
80+ 4,916 58.6

Relative risk of COVID-19 death by age band

The main point to note is those aged 60+ account for 92% of deaths despite young people being more likely to catch COVID.

The risk profile for Omicron appears to be the same as for Delta. Age is the greatest risk factor but remember that because of vaccination the death rate as a proportion of new infections is about ten times lower than in 2020.

triangleHealthcare numbers

The UK government Coronavirus Dashboard includes information about healthcare statistics and NHS bed occupancy.

Hospital COVID cases (UK) Number Change since last week
Patients currently in hospital 9,619 -1,144
Patients on ventilation 203 -50
Patients admitted daily 860 -158

Headline summary of patients in hospital reported on 13th May 2022

The Coronavirus Dashboard suggests COVID UK beds fell about 11% this week (to 9th May), while hospital admissions fell 15%.

Bed numbers by region in England

Tabulated figures for COVID bed occupancy in England can be found on the NHS England website and these give a good indication of direction of travel:

Click for NHS England COVID-19 Hospital bed Activity statistics

Note: see the latest Daily Admissions and Beds spreadsheets, then look for all COVID beds.

Region 6th May 2022 13th May 2022 15th January 2021
England 8,170 6,366 33,362
London 1,467 1,283 7,811
Midlands 1,640 1,281 5,890

Comparison of All beds COVID data for London and Midlands

In the last week the number of COVID-19 General and Acute beds fell by 22% in England, 12% in London and 22% in the Midlands.

Note: the NHS figures are more up to date than those on the Coronavirus Dashboard.

For comparison, the number of beds occupied during the peak of the epidemic in January 2021 is shown in red in the right hand column of the table.

Green triangleWorcestershire hospital beds

Between 2 May 2022 and 8 May 2022, 48 patients went into hospital with coronavirus. This shows a decrease of 30% compared to the previous 7 days.

There were 77 patients in hospital with coronavirus on 10 May 2022 of which 1 was on a ventilator.

Click for Summary of Malvern numbers on the Coronavirus dashboard

This link also reports deaths.

Deaths in Malvern Hills

Between 7 May 2022 and 13 May 2022, there have been no deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.

Forecast for the week ahead

Note: we have changed from forecasting PHE UK figures to ONS weekly deaths in England and Wales.

The number of UK COVID related deaths in England and Wales (as registered by ONS) may increase by up to 1,000  in Week 18 ending 6th May 2022, to be reported on 17th May.

In the county of Worcestershire, based on 48 new hospital cases last week and assuming the ratio of deaths to be 1:11 of admissions, then up to 4 deaths per week can be expected in the first week of June.

UK Hospital admissions fell about 15% last week, suggesting 750 new COVID patients per day next week.

COVID bed occupancy in England could fall by about 15% next week.

Longer term outlook

We are entering the endemic stage of the disease with a high background level of infection, expected to dip in the summer and rise  in  the winter, modulated by new variants to which we may or may not have less protection. New variants under investigation include BA.2.12.1 in the USA, and BA.4 and BA.5 in South Africa which are currently less than 1% of UK cases. Daily cases  could level off at about 50,000 new cases per day in the summer and possibly around 1:10 of those infected might suffer from symptoms of Long COVID - so best to avoid the virus if you can.

See summary of links section for UCL and IHME modelling projections.

The latest UCL projection is the same as last week, to quote:-

The current surge in infections appears to have peaked, with a long-term outlook that can be characterised as a high-prevalence, endemic equilibrium, with fluctuations due to socio-behavioural responses, waning immunity and seasonality effects. The next peak is anticipated in early July.

The 7-day average of daily (certified) deaths per day may fall to a minimum of about 60 per day in late May.

In comparison UK deaths reported by ONS are about 170 per day as of 29th April 2022.

The UCL charts do not currently rule out deaths rising to 200 or more deaths per day next winter.

Click for UCL Long-term forecasting of the COVID-19 epidemic

Advice for SeniorsCOVID risk medium

The risk of exposure to the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is moderate to high in Worcestershire, and we are hearing of fewer cases in our social circle and extended family.

See our riskometer opposite.

During this period of moderately high prevalence, it is likely that, despite being fully vaccinated, many Seniors will at some time or other become ill with one of the Omicron variants of COVID-19, including some, for example, who had the Delta variant before Christmas.

How this affects us will depend on any previous exposure to the virus giving some natural immunity, and vaccination status.

Those most at risk are said to include:

  •  Seniors aged 75+ years who have not been fully vaccinated;

  • Seniors aged 75+ whose first booster is now waning;

  • Pregnant women who have not been vaccinated.

Recently there have been no more than 12 COVID related deaths per week in Worcestershire which has a population of 600,000 so we currently estimate the risk of death for fully vaccinated Seniors to be less than 1% per year which we judge LOW while the risk of Long COVID is a little higher.

Currently the chance of Seniors being hospitalised with COVID-19 in any year is less than 4% which we judge moderately LOW

Many people are now taking the view that COVID is no longer a critical threat to their health.

For the more cautious the simple safeguards to remember are to:

  • make sure your COVID and Flu vaccinations are fully up to date - you must have a Booster to obtain significant protection from hospitalisation and death, and if that was more than 6 months ago, desirably a Spring Booster.

  • wash your HANDS thoroughly, using soap and hot water, for 20 seconds, including after handling deliveries to your home, to kill virus picked up from contaminated surfaces (see note 1);

  • ideally wear either a well fitting FACE covering,  or an FFP2 face mask when unavoidably near strangers for example when in shops, theatres, health-care settings, and when using public transport;

  • SPACE at least 2 metres from people you don't feel safe with (see note 2);

  • preferably socialise with friends and other households outdoors in the FRESH AIR else, if you are indoors, either ventilate by keeping windows open as far as is practicable or put a HEPA air purifier in the room;

  • avoid crowded indoor settings;

  • self-isolate for 5 to 10 days to protect others if you feel unwell with cold or flu like symptoms; according to the Zoe COVID Study the current top five COVID symptoms are runny nose, headache, sore throat, tiredness, and sneezing which may be difficult to distinguish from a common cold (see notes 3 and 4);

  • respect others and give them space.


1) Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your face to avoid transferring virus from contaminated surfaces to your mouth, eyes and nose. If outdoors, wash hands with an alcohol based hand gel.

2) Two metres is further than you think - roughly an arm and a walking stick away.

3) The Zoe Health Study people suggest that if you have symptoms of a common cold there is a fair chance you might have COVID.

4) If you are 'clinically vulnerable' consult your GP or specialist; you may need to take a test and consider anti viral drugs if testing positive.

5) However careful you are, don't be too surprised if you catch COVID as the Omicron variant is highly infectious.



This week

Some talk in the media of insoluble micro blood clots possibly causing Long COVID and suggesting more study is needed into testing and treatment.

People report reduced stamina and endurance after 'recovery' from COVID.

Tinnitus reported as possible new symptom of Omicron.2.

Zoe COVID Symptom Study, now renamed Zoe Health Study, will in future report every 2 weeks.

The UKHSA Vaccine Surveillance Reports will in future be produced every month.

Snippets in the media

ONS estimates 70.7% of the population in England had COVID between 27 April 2020 and 11 February 2022.

ONS estimate about 99% have antibodies from either vaccine or infection.

1.8M people or 3% of the population report living with Long COVID.

Possibly up to 1:10 of those suffering from symptomatic infection experience Long COVID.

Those with severe disabilities are 50% more likely to die of COVID.

COVID video updates

Links to the Zoe Health Study and Independent SAGE weekly updates can be found here:-

Click to watch Zoe Health Study update on 12th May 2022 presented by Tim Spector.

Bullet points:

  • Cases could level off at about 100,000 per day;

  • 94% cases are now BA.2

  • BA.2 causes more symptoms than BA.1 but it is less severe and causes half hospitalisations;

  • Infection by BA.1 possibly might not protect against the South African BA.4 and BA.5 variants.

The Zoe COVID Symptom Study has been renamed the ZOE Health Study and will analyze wider health issues for participants. Updates will in future be every 2 weeks, so the next will be on 26th May.


Click to watch Independent SAGE update on 13th May 2022

Quite an interesting update this week:-

Dr Deepti Gurdasani presents trends in the numbers, followed by this week's topic: how to keep public spaces safe.

Miscellaneous bullet points:

  • COVID is the primary cause in only 38% of patients testing COVID positive in hospital;

  • 17% catch COVID while in hospital;

  • hospitals currently have just 5% spare bed capacity;

  • only 7% of 5 - 11 year olds in England have had a first jab;

  • Independent SAGE proposes a COVID Pledge (see below).

Unions and Independent SAGE are encouraging employers to sign up to a COVID Safety Pledge designed to ensure workplaces adopt measures which minimise the spread of respiratory viruses such as COVID-19.

It requests that employers ask workers who have Coronavirus symptoms to stay at home while infectious, and provide support while they do so. The safety pledge also asks that employers risk-assess their workplace to safeguard against the spread of infection.

Organisations which sign up to the scheme would be able to present Covid safe workplace signs on their premises.

Organisations can sign up at www.covidpledge.co.uk

It seems an attempt in part to encourage better ventilation in buildings.


List of vaccines

Here is the updated list of COVID-19 vaccines ordered by the UK. It looks as though for now the government has settled on Pfizer as first choice with Moderna second and Astrazeneca held in reserve.

Moderna has been offered for Spring Boosters at the Three Counties Showground.

The order for Valneva has been cancelled, but nevertheless it has now been approved for use by MHRA.

Click for BBC report - Valneva Covid vaccine approved for use in UK

 Nuvaxoid (Novavax) was approved in February.

For two doses plus boosters, only about 200M doses will be needed in 2021 and Jan/Feb 2022 for the population of the UK. The government has now signed deals to buy 114 million additional doses of the Pfizer (54M) and Moderna (60M) vaccines to use in 2022 and 2023.

Click for press announcement - Government agrees new deals to future proof vaccine rollout in light of new variant

The press announcement goes on to say that 60M doses of Novavax vaccine are expected to be delivered in 2022 and 7.5M doses of GSK/Sanofi, so there seems no intention to cancel these late arrivals.

Click for Guardian report - Novavax expected to be become fourth Covid vaccine available in UK

COVID-19 vaccine Doses ordered (million) Status
Pfizer BioNTech, two dose, -70 deg C 40+60+35 Approved, deliveries continuing, made in Belgium (EU). An additional 60M doses have been ordered for booster shots for the most vulnerable in the autumn. A further 35M doses were ordered in August 2021 for delivery in 2022.
Astrazeneca, two dose, fridge 100 Approved for those aged 30+ years; deliveries continuing. Batches made in UK, Belgium and India.
Moderna, two dose, -20 deg C 7+10 Approved. First deliveries to Wales and Scotland 7th April 2021 then England 13th April; mainly for those aged under 50 years awaiting vaccination.
Valneva, two dose 60+40
A jab from French company Valneva will be made in Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland. Order cancelled September 2021. Delivery had been expected to start in second half of 2021.

Approved by MHRA April 2022.
Janssen, single dose 20 Approved, a jab from Belgian firm Janssen, owned by Johnson and Johnson; UK approval 28th May. Order reduced from 30 to 20M.
Nuvaxovid 60 A jab manufactured by US firm Novavax being made in Stockton-on-Tees UK. Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) contracted to fill and package vials. Approved by MHRA 3rd Feb 2022. JCVI to advise how vaccine will be used.
GSK Sanofi 60 Some delay due to adjusting the formula to give better protection to the elderly; expected approval and delivery of 7.5M doses in 2022.
Curevac 50 ? Contract placed with German company Feb 2021. Possible source of new variant vaccine; disappointing trial results have resulted in the company working on a second generation vaccine. Future uncertain.

Table of vaccines ordered by the UK government


Present rate of detected new cases

Note: this data is no longer considered reliable and has been deleted. Figures can however still be found on the Coronavirus dashboard.


Back to top


How to request a COVID test (no longer updated)

Note: this section is largely historical now the population is vaccinated.  The government no longer sees testing as important; except in hospitals. The availability of PCR tests is being cut back to save money and Lateral Flow tests are no longer free. Surveillance for new variants of COVID-19 will be mainly based on ONS surveys.

In order to protect others it is important to get a test and self isolate if you feel unwell with either classic COVID symptoms, or cold and flu like symptoms which can be caused by the Omicron variant.;

There are now two types of test you can get. The more accurate PCR test involving a throat and nose swab which is sent to a laboratory for analysis and the Lateral Flow Device test.

Click for government guidance on types of tests

Getting a PCR test

Click the link below for information on how to get a free NHS PCR test if you think you may have Coronavirus:


We feel the website discourages people from seeking a PCR test who don't have all the classic symptoms. If you feel strongly enough, press on answering the questions so as to get your PCR test.

In case of difficulty you can try phoning the Coronavirus contact centre by dialing 119.

Alternatively settle for a 'Nasal swab' Lateral Flow Device test in the comfort of your own home (see below).

According to Google there is a 'drive through' COVID testing station at County Hall near the Countrywide Centre, and a 'walk through' at Pershore.

There is also a COVID testing station at the Worcester Royal Hospital for screening patients before admission.

If you cannot get to these you can order a home PCR test kit.

If you test COVID positive you should ideally self-isolate for 5 days or until you feel better.

Getting a Lateral Flow Device test

Lateral Flow Device tests (LFD) can either be booked at Claremont Pharmacy in Barnards Green, Evans Pharmacy in Malvern Link, or taken at home.

The test is intended to screen those who do not show the classic symptoms of COVID-19 and provides a means to check you are 'virus free' at home - either before visiting an elderly person, going to work, or attending a crowded event.  It also provides a means to check whether or not you have Coronavirus if you are feeling poorly with cold and flu like symptoms.

COVID Lateral Flow DeviceYou can collect home test kits, for example packaged as the COVID-19 Self-Test (Rapid Antigen Test) in boxes of 7 tests, from Malvern library, the Co-op, and most pharmacies such as Boots and Murrays in Church Street, Claremont House and Lloyds in Barnards Green, Murrays at Prospect View, Evans and Murrays in Malvern Link, and Boots and Morrisons on the Enigma Retail Park.

If collecting from a pharmacy you now have to go on-line and get a collection code to present to the pharmacy in order to obtain a pack of 7 tests. This involves giving NHS Test and Trace your email and/or mobile phone number and address.


The LFD now comes in two versions.

  • The Throat and Nose Swab kit;

  • The Nose Swab only kit (Orient Gene, Acon Flowflex and MP Biomedicals).

 (Lateral Flow Device cassette shown on the right).

ACON Flowflex comes in a blue and white pack.

Orient Gene comes in a green and white pack.

MP Biomedicals come in a blue, white and grey pack.

Click for instructions for using the LFD test kits

COVID lateral flow test leaflet

Leaflet at Boots the Chemist

Note: from 1st April 2022 you will no longer be able to get a collection code for free tests.

The new Nasal swab test kit which only requires a nose swab is the easiest to use and the best one to get but it is not yet widely available. On 10th November 2021 we found Boots in Church Street and Malvern Library were still supplying the old Throat and Nose kit; Murrays in Church Street had the new kits and Malvern library thought the library in St John's Worcester might have the new kits.

Click for NHS information on Rapid Lateral Flow Test sites and collection sites in Malvern

Hint: to see the list, click on 'filter' and then 'pick up sites for test kits' checkbox.

Click for WCC info about Lateral Flow Tests

In our opinion, many Seniors will find the classic Throat and Nose Swab home test kit difficult to use as you need to rub the tonsils or thereabouts with the swab-stick without touching the tongue, teeth, cheeks, gums or any other surface before swabbing the nose. Doing this standing in front of a mirror on your own without gagging while holding a torch in the other hand, won't be easy unless you have a steady hand and good eyesight.

The Nose Swab kit is by far the best one for testing yourself at home.

If you test COVID positive you should isolate and take a more accurate PCR test to confirm the result.

NHS Test and Trace want people to report the result of their home LFD tests within 24 hours at:


Note: only NHS tests with a QR code can be reported; it is not possible to report privately purchased tests.

This was to help NHS Test and Trace monitor where the issue of the free LFD tests is proving most effective and the spread of the disease.

However, it's tedious to enter your Lateral Flow Test result on the government website and we imagine many people now don't bother.

COVID Lateral Flow test kit

Nose swab home test kit obtained from Murrays


About the COVID Symptom Study app (Zoe)

Note: renamed the Zoe Health Study in May 2022.

COVID app logoYou can help others by downloading the COVID Symptom Study app onto your smart-phone or Ipad and reporting how you feel either daily, or as you are able. Note there is no desktop PC version for Windows.

For further details click this link: https://covid19.joinzoe.com

The Zoe app, which is easy to use, allows you to report whether or not you are feeling well and if you have had a test for COVID. This helps Kings College London monitor the spread and symptoms of the disease and give advice to government. This is an important source of data as we progress through the EXIT wave.

There are questions allowing you to enter your vaccine type and whether any side effects; this now includes boosters and flu jabs.


About the NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app (England)

Release of the NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app for Apple and Android smartphones was announced on 24th September 2020.

Click this link for NHS Coronavirus app information

If you have been close to someone who has tested COVID positive, your smart-phone will be pinged and you may be advised to self-isolate

Note: now isolation is no longer a legal requirement you might as well delete this from your smartphone.


About the NHS app and Covid Pass

An NHS COVID Pass shows your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination details and/or test results. This is your COVID-19 status. You may be asked to show your pass to travel abroad

You will need the NHS app installed on your smartphone and be registered with the NHS in order to display your vaccination status.

Note: this is not the NHS COVID-19 app

If you don't have a smartphone you should be able to login from a PC to obtain a printed copy.

Click to login from a desktop computer or laptop

You can use your NHS login when signing in to report the result of Lateral Flow Device tests taken at home; this has to be done within 24 hours.


Some of this information is now out of date but provides a historical context to the epidemic.

Information about Coronavirus can be found on the NHS website:




About COVID symptoms

Note: the list of symptoms was updated on 1st April 2022

Article about the effects of Wuhan Coronavirus on the human body


Reporting and how to obtain a test

How to get a test


About joining the Zoe COVID Symptom Study:




UK government Coronavirus guidance

See also - government sets out next steps for living with COVID

COVID-19 Response: Autumn and Winter Plan 2021 for England

UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) website


COVID Alert states

Guidance on UK COVID-19 alert level methodology: an overview

COVID-19 Alert Level lowered to 3 on 10th May 2021



Guidance on tiers: what you need to know

Government postcode checker to find tier for other areas



UK government COVID-19: Omicron daily overview

UK government Coronavirus Dashboard

Coronavirus Dashboard Interactive Map

ONS data on deaths in England and Wales (Excel spreadsheet)

NHS England COVID-19 Daily Deaths

NHS England COVID-19 Hospital Admissions

NHS England vaccination statistics

Reports on COVID intensive care beds - see intensive care national audit and research centre (ICNARC) website

Worcestershire Coronavirus Dashboard

Worcestershire COVID-19 Vaccinations Dashboard


HSA COVID-19 vaccine weekly surveillance reports

Information about NHS hospital bed numbers: past, present, future


A glimpse of the worldwide vaccination situation can be found on the Our World in Data website.

Click for chart showing % vaccinated



A forecast of the progression of the COVID-19 epidemic can be found on a University College London (UCL) website.

Click for UCL Long-term forecasting of the COVID-19 epidemic

A projection of the future COVID-19 death toll and daily deaths can be found on The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation website. 

Click for IHME projection of COVID-19 deaths



Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest insights by ONS

A live roundup of the latest data and trends about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic from the ONS and other sources.


The bigger picture

Worldometer summary of coronavirus cases worldwide

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control info


World Health Organisation info



Window on the USA

Centre for Disease Control (CDC)

CDC COVID Data Tracker

Find maps and charts tracking cases, deaths, and trends of COVID-19 in the United States.

American Association of Retired People (AARP)



A local summary of COVID data can be found on the Worcestershire Coronavirus Dashboard.

Note 1: use the arrow <> buttons at the bottom of the Dashboard screen to move between pages.

Note 2: the figures for COVID cases are becoming meaningless as testing is run down.

Note 3:  deaths are on page 7, and hospital beds on page 9.

Click for Worcestershire County Council COVID-19 news

There is a colourful webpage offering advice on learning to live with COVID for those aged under 30 years. 'Rona' is slang for Coronavirus.

Click for The Worcestershire 'Rona' Hub

COVID Outbreak Control Plan

Click for Simple Summary of Malvern numbers on the Coronavirus dashboard



Spanish Flu

Dr Jeff Kildea's commentary about the 1919 outbreak of Spanish Flu in Australia


Views of Martin McKee, Professor of European Public Health

Follow Martin McKee on Twitter

Views of Prof Christina Pagel, a member of Independent SAGE

Follow Christina Pagel on Twitter


SAGE membership

Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE)


Scottish government:

Link to Scottish Government website

Link to Postcode checker for COVID restrictions by protection level in areas of Scotland


Welsh Government:

Guidance on COVID alert levels in Wales


The Malvern Hills logo

Back to top

The interpretations and opinions expressed are our own