Concern over lockdown end as hospitals face enormous pressure
The health chief called for a more informed debate on the planned lifting of all legal limits on social contact in England on June 21 as Labor questioned whether the movement would continue.
The continued spread of the Indian variant of the coronavirus has prompted experts to say restrictions should remain in place until more people have received both doses of a vaccine as ministers draw up plans for a partial end lock.
According to the BBC, NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said a “much better quality of debate” was needed on the implications of the easing measures.
Hospitals were treating patients with complex needs who had delayed treatment earlier in the pandemic and now required longer stays, he said.
Staff were “doing their utmost” to manage waiting lists and did not have the space for a significant increase in the number of Covid patients, he added.
In The Observer, opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer said that “weak and slow decisions” by the government on border policy had allowed the Indian variant to spread.
He added that “the greatest threat” to the complete reopening of England was “the incompetence of the government”.
It comes as new figures show more than half of people in their 30s in England have received a coronavirus vaccination in just over two weeks.
NHS England said since it began to open the vaccine rollout to this age group on May 13, around 53% of people aged 30 to 39 have received at least one dose.
People aged 30 to 31 were the most recent group to be invited for their jab – starting Wednesday – with more than five million appointments made by the nationwide reservation service in 72 hours.
Current data suggests that although hospital admissions are increasing in parts of the country affected by the Indian variant, overall admissions remain broadly stable.
Meanwhile, the reproduction number – the R-value – for England is 1 to 1.1, down from 0.9 and 1.1 the week before, suggesting the epidemic is on the rise.
A science adviser has warned that confusion over the government’s handling of Covid restrictions is undermining efforts to control the virus.
Professor Stephen Reicher, a psychologist on the Sage subcommittee who advises ministers on behavioral science, said the government was in a “pickle” because it appeared to have abandoned the principle of “data, not dates. “.
Meanwhile, British intelligence agents now believe it is “doable” that the pandemic started with a leak from a research laboratory in Wuhan, China.
The Times says the development, which Beijing angrily denied, prompted US diplomatic sources to share their concerns: “We are at a wet market or a biological lab away from the next overflow.”