Covid: Bring back rules amid rising cases, urge NHS chiefs

Health / Wed 20th Oct 2021 at 06:10am

SOME Covid restrictions must immediately be reintroduced if England is to avoid “stumbling into a winter crisis”, health leaders have warned reports the BBC.

The NHS Confederation said ministers’ “Plan B” back-up strategy, including mandatory face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces, should be implemented.

UK cases have been rising sharply but deaths are well below the winter peak.

The government says it has “absolutely no plan” for further measures but is keeping a “very close eye” on the data.

Daily Covid cases have been above 40,000 for seven days in a row, with 43,738 new infections reported on Tuesday.

Another 223 deaths were recorded, the highest since March, although daily figures are often bigger on Tuesdays.

The government’s Plan A for dealing with Covid in England this winter is currently in place – with booster jabs offered to about 30 million people, a single dose of a vaccine available for healthy 12 to 15-year-olds and people advised to wear face coverings in crowded places.

If these measures are not enough to prevent “unsustainable pressure” on the NHS, then steps like making face coverings mandatory in some settings, asking people to work from home and introducing vaccine passports could be considered as part of Plan B.

Matthew Taylor, head of the NHS Confederation, which represents health service organisations, is urging the government to roll out these extra measures to avoid hospitals becoming overwhelmed.

“The NHS is preparing for what could be the most challenging winter on record,” he said.

“It is time for the government to enact Plan B of its strategy without delay because without pre-emptive action, we risk stumbling into a winter crisis.”

Ministers “should not wait for Covid infections to rocket and for NHS pressures to be sky high before the panic alarm is sounded”, he added.

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