England is heading for a New Year’s wave of covid-positive cases, largely thanks to the Boris Johnson government, which does nothing to refuse to implement further measures during the Christmas period, combined with its failure to provide enough test kits to meet the public demand.
St George’s Hospital in Tooting has been notified to set up a Nightingale Hospital’s emergency “surge hub”, one of eight around the country in preparation for a wave of Omicron admissions, the NHS has said.
The temporary Nightingale units will each provide about 100 covid beds. There are also plans to identify locations for an additional 4,000 beds if needed.
A record number of covid cases were reported yesterday, and NHS Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis said the service was on “war footing”.
Prof Powis said the NHS “can not wait to find out before we act” given the number of infections and uncertainty about the severity of the Omicron variant.
Health Minister Sajid Javid said he hoped the new hubs “should not be used”. NHS trusts have been tasked with identifying other locations, such as gyms, car parks and training centers, which can be converted to accommodate up to 4,000 patients if required.
The NHS is often required to put in extra beds over the winter, but hospital admissions in the UK with covid have risen above 10,000 for the first time since March.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that no further action was needed in the UK to reduce the spread of the virus, suggesting only that the public should use lateral flow tests to check their covid status. , before leaving for New York. New Year’s parties.
Across the UK, 183,037 daily cases were reported in the latest figures, with more than 900,000 cases reported over the last seven days – an increase of 41.4 per cent on the previous week.
Professor Peter Openshaw said the lack of availability of tests shortly before New Year’s Eve was “very worrying”.
Imperial College immunologist told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that parties are often “absolutely perfect” conditions for transfer covid, where people crowd together in poorly ventilated spaces. And Prof Openshaw also expressed serious concern about the lack of test kits available to the public.
The Tory health minister admitted there has been “huge demand” for lateral flow tests after his prime minister urged people to check their status before New Year’s Eve parties.
At times yesterday, there were no PCR or lateral flow tests available to order online.
In a letter to England MPs, Javid said the supply of lateral flow tests will triple in January and February, from 100 million to 300 million a month.
The UK Health Safety Agency has already raised supplies of lateral flow tests from 120 million to “almost 300 million” in December, he added.
Javid said there was “unprecedented” demand for both lateral flow and PCR testing, which “has inevitably put pressure on the testing system despite the impressive upscaling of supply, logistics and laboratory capacity. Other countries have faced similar challenges.” .
Prof. Openshaw, who sits on the Advisory Group for New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats – “Nerve Tag” – said he was concerned that untested people could interfere with parties.
“We know the situations in which transmission takes place.
“But we know that crowding into poorly ventilated spaces, especially if you are shouting over loud music and so on, is absolutely perfect in terms of transmitting this very, very, very transmissible virus.”
Read more: Hospital visits are still allowed, but ‘kept under close scrutiny’
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