Millions more will face the toughest Tier 4 coronavirus restrictions in the country this week. Boris Johnson is expected to decide today which regions will endure the changes today.
Pressure on the government to function as hospitals across England warned of mounting strains on services due to Covid-19 patient numbers, which peaked during the pandemic, while a record high of 51,135 more cases was reported on Tuesday 414 deaths.
The infection rate on Tuesday is the highest toll officially recorded by the Ministry of Health within a single 24-hour period and represents a sharp increase of 44 percent from last Tuesday's level of 36,804.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson chaired a meeting of the government's Covid-19 Operations Committee last night when the need for changes to the tiered system was agreed. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to share the details with MPs later today.
Areas that may be moved from Tier 3 to Tier 4 due to rising fall rates include parts of the East Midlands such as Northamptonshire and Leicestershire and all areas of West Midlands Metropolitan County.
Hartlepool in northeast England, as well as a handful of areas in Lancashire – Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Pendle and Ribble Valley – could also be upgraded from Tier 3 to 4.
The Times also reported that ministers are also considering burdening parts of Southwest and Cumbria with the toughest measures in the country.
Saffron Cordery, deputy general manager of NHS Providers, warned that options were tightening and that moving areas to the highest level was necessary.
“In some parts of the country, the pressure on the NHS is not increasing sustainably. Fortunately, trust in other areas has helped. As the virus spreads rapidly alongside increasing winter pressures, the options are narrowing.
“We urgently need to be one step ahead of the outbreak. The Covid 19 Tier Review offers the opportunity to do so. It will take difficult decisions that will take millions of people to the highest level.
"The government must act boldly, quickly and clearly to contain the threat from Covid-19."
Figures from NHS England showed there were 21,787 patients in NHS hospitals in England at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, compared with 20,426 on Monday and 18,974 at the first wave peak on April 12th.
Five of the seven NHS regions in England are currently reporting record numbers of Covid-19 hospital patients: East England, London, Midlands, South East England and South West England.
The other two regions, North East and North West England, remain below the highs set in mid-November.
Meanwhile, the number of additional laboratory-confirmed cases registered in the UK in a single day hit a new record Tuesday, surpassing 50,000 for the first time to 53,135.
However, authorities cannot be sure if this will be the UK's worst pandemic day yet, as mass testing was not introduced in the UK until May. However, it has been estimated that in the late period there were potentially 100,000 cases per day at the peak of March and early April.
Health ministry statistics show that on Christmas Eve, 18,227 Covid-infected patients were cared for in hospitals across the country – an increase of 15 percent in one week. Top officials say the highly infectious load that is rapidly spreading across the country is to blame. For comparison: April 12 was the busiest day of the pandemic for hospitals in England, with 18,974 patients occupying beds
Public Health England chiefs admitted that "some" cases announced yesterday will be the result of a delay in reporting over Christmas, but warned that the number was mainly "a reflection of a real surge". Data shows that around 40,000 cases on Tuesday came from samples taken on or after Boxing Day in England.
The government said an additional 414 people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, bringing the UK total to 71,567.
Empty nightingales are being taken apart "because there are too few medical professionals to employ them"
Nightingale hospitals are quietly being dismantled as medical professionals warn that there are too few doctors and nurses to keep shift facilities open.
Health bosses have already started removing London's 4,000 beds, ventilators and even signs directing patients to wards, while those in Birmingham and Sunderland have not yet reopened.
Seven nightingales caught in panic hospitals were overwhelmed by an influx of Covid-19 patients during the first wave.
But many stood empty for months after ministers called them a "solution" to the Covid-19 crisis when they were opened to many fans in the early months of the pandemic to cushion overwhelmed hospitals.
Critics yesterday accused ministers of ignoring warnings. The ICU staff was already “paper thin” before the additional capacity was used up, regardless of how it would be operated.
And when the beds were rolled away from the flagship Nightingale, London opened by Prince Charles, the numbers showed that Covid-19 hospital stays in England had passed the peak of the first wave, amid warnings from health chiefs they are back to watch the Covid storm.
Data from NHS England shows 20,426 beds were occupied by patients who tested positive for coronavirus at 8 a.m. on Monday, up from 17,700 a week ago and over the 18,974 recorded on April 12.
Nurses and doctors have gone on the air to warn the wards are filling up with Covid-19 patients and are urging the British not to celebrate over the New Year for fear of the virus spreading.
This comes amid warnings that England could fall into Tier 5 restrictions within days after scholars advised Boris Johnson to take stricter measures than it did in November – with high schools, pubs and non-essential stores closed.
Although it is unclear whether the new measures will be labeled "Tier 5", SAGE reportedly warned the Prime Minister that they must be stricter than the current Tier 4 restrictions.
A scientist advising the government's top scientists warned yesterday that national restrictions must be imposed to prevent a "disaster" in January and February and said the government should act "early".
It could become clear whether Tier 4 is curbing the spread of the virus within a few days, as it can take up to two weeks for someone who is infected to develop symptoms and then get a Covid-19 test. However, during the Christmas break, it may take longer for the effects of the levels to become apparent.
The virus's spread is powered by a mutant strain that is believed to be at least 50 percent more contagious than other strains, according to scientists.
Yesterday's 414 deaths are 40 percent lower than the 691 recorded the same day last week. However, it can take several weeks for infected patients to get sick, meaning the daily death toll will inevitably rise over the next 14 days.
A senior doctor said some trusts in London and the Southeast are considering the option of pitching tents outside of hospitals – something usually reserved for sudden events like terrorist attacks or industrial disasters – to screen patients.
The number of Covid-19 patients in London hospitals is now higher than at the height of the first virus wave, at 5,371 as of 8 a.m. on Tuesday, according to NHS England.
During the first wave, the number of patients in London peaked at 5,201 on April 9.
Ambulances lined up outside hospitals on Tuesday, including the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and the Queen & # 39; s Hospital in Romford, both in east London, as well as the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. A junior doctor in the capital said his hospital was "aggressively overburdened". of Covid-19 patients.
Dr. Susan Hopkins, Senior Medical Advisor for Public Health England, said the "unprecedented levels" of Covid-19 infection across the UK were "extremely worrying".
More than six million people in east and south-east England face the highest restrictions on Saturday, which means 24 million – 43% of the population – are now affected.
Ministers are also reportedly considering plans to force areas into "Tier 5" measures, with the closure of secondary schools. However, it is expected that they will expand Tier 4 in the "immediate future".
The effects of Tier 4 measures will be announced within days as it can take up to two weeks for someone infected with the virus to show symptoms and receive a test. However, it is feared that the holiday season could cloud the water due to delays in reporting positive results during the holiday season.
In other coronavirus news:
- A quarter of English hospitals treated a "dangerous" number of Covid patients before Christmas, as the MailOnline analysis of official figures shows.
- Boris Johnson will meet with senior ministers to decide on recent changes in coronavirus levels in the government. Two thirds of England are reported to be facing the toughest conditions.
- The cabinet is divided into schools that are reopening. The Minister of Health is demanding that they remain closed just a few days before classes resume.
- Eight nursing home workers are hospitalized after an overdose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Germany.
- Regulators confirm that vials of Pfizer Jab each contain 2.5 additional doses, meaning thousands more could be vaccinated with the same dose.
- Christmas earnings in pubs, bars and restaurants are 80 percent lower than in the previous year.
- The 56-year-old "healthy" man who contracted the coronavirus has to have half of his leg amputated after he developed a blood clot and his foot turned black.
- An overdose of a common antibiotic amid the pandemic could fuel the surge in super gonorrhea, the World Health Organization warns.
- China imprisons a journalist for daring to tell the truth about the pandemic in the country.
- Spain says it will keep a register of those who oppose the Covid-19 vaccine and share it with other EU members.
It is believed that scientists leading the government through the pandemic have advised Mr Johnson to take stricter measures than those introduced in November.
Whitehall sources have told The Telegraph that Tier 4 could expand across the country after today's review.
Around 24 million people in London, the South East and East of England are already among the toughest Tier 4 curbs.
"I would expect more than half of England to get into Tier 4, but I wouldn't be surprised if two-thirds land in the top tier," a health official told the publication.
& # 39; There is also real concern about the South African variant which seems to be spreading quickly. Unfortunately, more action is needed to address rising cases across the board. & # 39;
Lockdown measures are also in place in the other three home countries after mainland Scotland introduced level 4 restrictions for three weeks from Saturday and a similar home stay order in Wales.
Northern Ireland has also launched a new six-week lockdown and the first week measures are the toughest yet. A curfew is in operation from 8 p.m., from this point on the shops are closed and all indoor and outdoor gatherings are prohibited until 6 a.m.
Dr. Susan Hopkins, Senior Medical Advisor at Public Health England, commented on the cases on Tuesday: “We continue to see unprecedented levels of Covid-19 infection across the UK, which is of particular concern, especially as our hospitals are hardest hit susceptible. While the number of cases reported today (Tuesday) includes some from the festival season, those numbers largely reflect a real increase.
“Today more than ever, it is more important than ever that we continue to work together to stop the spread of the virus, reduce the rate of infection and protect the most vulnerable and the NHS.
“A critical part of this is that we each obey the restrictions in force, however difficult it may be at this time of year. It is important that we reduce our contacts, especially the mixing between households. We need to follow the basic measures – wash hands, wear a mask and keep your distance from others. & # 39;
One of Number 10's scientific advisors warned yesterday that England must be thrown into a third national shutdown to prevent a "disaster" in the New Year.
Professor Andrew Hayward, an epidemiologist at University College London and a member of SAGE, warned the country of a "very dangerous new phase of the pandemic".
He urged ministers to learn the lessons of previous waves when the government was criticized for being too slow to block and to act early this time.
Urging the government to take swift action to curb the spread of the virus, Professor Hayward said this morning, “I think we are entering a very dangerous new phase of the pandemic and we will need determined, early national action to prevent it a disaster in January and February.
“A 50 percent increase in portability means that previous restrictions that were previously applied no longer work. Therefore, level 4 restrictions are likely to be required or even greater.
"I think we're really looking at a situation where we're approaching lockdown, but we need to learn the lessons from the first lockdown."
Professor Hayward said the surge in cases was "largely due to the new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus" and suggested that returning students to school would mean tighter restrictions in other areas of society.
He said: & # 39; We had control measures that previously controlled the old variant are not sufficient for this variant.
"So if we want to control the new variant, we need much stricter restrictions."
Professor Hayward said he thought schools would have to return "maybe a little later" but that would mean, "we have to increase strict restrictions in other areas of society to pay for that".
LONDON: The biggest jump in Covid-19 patients was recorded in the capital last week. In the last seven days they rose by 44 percent from 1,551.6 to 2,236.7 beds.
EAST OF ENGLAND: The second highest surge in infections was in this region, where they rose 43.9 percent from 1,118.6 to 1,610.4
SOUTH EAST: This region – also under Tier 4 – saw the third highest increase in the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital beds, after increasing by 27.8 percent from 1,579.1 to 2,018
SOUTHWEST: Covid-19 hospital admissions rose 11.4 percent from 803.3 to 894.9
MIDDLELANDS: Covid-19 hospital admissions rose 5.6 percent from 2,489.6 to 2,630.6
NORTH EAST AND YORKSHIRE: Covid-19 hospital admissions rose 2.7 percent from 2,131.3 to 2,188.1
NORTH WEST: Covid-19 hospital admissions rose 1.6 percent from 2,011.9 to 2,044.9
London's 4,000-bed Nightingale Hospital stands empty amid coronavirus cases and hospital admissions across the country. Figures from NHS England show England currently has more Covid-19 patients in hospital than during the first wave of the pandemic in March and April
Quarter of English hospitals "treated dangerous numbers of Covid patients before Christmas"
A quarter of English hospitals treated a "dangerous" number of Covid patients before Christmas, official figures show that there is a risk of a third national lockdown.
Analysis of NHS England data by MailOnline shows that in the week ending December 22nd, at least a fifth of general beds in 37 trusts were occupied by Covid patients. Top experts have warned of a danger zone if coronavirus patients injure 20 percent of hospital occupancy and the disease begins to affect non-Covid services and increase the risk of outbreaks on the wards.
Two trusts were twice as high as this threshold in the past week. The coronavirus took over 45 percent of the beds at the Medway NHS Foundation Trust in Kent and four out of ten beds at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.
A third of the beds in four other trusts in Kent and London – East Kent Hospitals University Trust (37 percent), Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust (35 percent), Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (34 percent), and Dartford and Gravesham Trust (33 percent) – were used for patients with the disease. However, analysts following the outbreak fear 14 trusts will cross the 33 percent threshold by New Year's Eve.
Coronavirus patients must be kept in isolation and treated with strict infection control measures, which require more staff and man hours and can add additional strain to hospitals. So it is important to keep the Covid occupancy below 20 percent so as not to disturb other parts of the NHS.
“We have to stay in more or less similar kinds of messages from home unless you really have to, so there is that combined with incentives for testing, incentives for isolation – those kinds of things that get us through Next wear will be a few months while we vaccinate as many people as possible. & # 39;
In response to Professor Hayward's comments, the Prime Minister's official spokesman replied, “I would like to reiterate what we did during the pandemic when we took action based on the latest scientific and medical evidence.
“You saw that we did this all of December when we moved areas to Tier 4 precisely to reduce virus transmission and to try to keep the virus R-rates in high areas Decrease prevalence.
"As I said, we will obviously be constantly reviewing the measures and of course constantly reviewing the latest scientific and medical data."
The government hasn't ruled out stricter new Tier 5 restrictions that could shut schools and universities down. or the prospect of a new national lockdown in January.
Fears that a third national lockdown may be on the way increased yesterday when Cabinet Minister Michael Gove didn't reject the idea of moving the entire country to Tier 4.
He said, “We are reviewing what levels parts of the country should be based on scientific evidence.
“The Joint Biosecurity Center will make a recommendation to the ministers, but I cannot anticipate that as it obviously has to be a judgment based on the medical situation. The NHS is under pressure and difficult months are ahead. & # 39;
According to an analysis of the official MailOnline numbers, more than 90 percent of councils in England saw their coronavirus outbreaks increase before Christmas.
The data suggests that Cumbria could be the next area to be later classified in Tier 4 today.
In three of the six districts of the Tier 2 district, the Covid infection rate – the number of new cases per 100,000 people – doubled in the week up to December 22nd.
Health Department statistics show that Eden, home to around 50,000 people, had a rate of 422.5 last week – up from 200.9 in the last seven days. At the beginning of the month it was 41.3.
This means that the district, which also includes Penrith, has had more confirmed Covid cases for the population than several councils that have already been placed under Tier 4, including parts of Surrey, Berkshire and Oxfordshire.
Allerdale (163.7) and Copeland (64.5) also saw double-sized outbreaks over the same period. However, the latter borough of Cumbrian still has the lowest coronavirus infection rate in England.
And Barrow-in-Furness – another part of the county – was one of only 27 areas that saw fewer cases week after week. In the other 288 counties of England, the outbreaks remained stable or increased. Infections doubled at 35 authorities in the same period.
Local health bosses fear the rapid growth in cases in parts of the county bordering Scotland is being caused by the same coronavirus mutation that is rapidly spreading in home counties.
Boris Johnson promised that the level assignment would be based on "common sense," with the JBC – a Whitehall organization that decides on the Whack-a-Mole strategy – using five criteria to determine which areas have the strictest restrictions need.
This includes the overall infection rate for each area, the number of cases in those over 60, and the rate at which the outbreak is growing or shrinking.
Officials are also looking into the positivity rate of the tests – the number of confirmed infections per 100 tests performed – and the pressure on local hospitals.
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) News (t) Latest News (t) Coronavirus