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No Covid lockdown rules needed says NHS boss with severe cases stable

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Chris Hopson, head of NHS Providers, said that Britons should be careful when interpreting Covid-19 data (Picture: REX)

No new lockdown measures are needed in Britain despite the record-high number of Covid-19 cases, an NHS boss has said.

The latest data shows a further 189,213 people were infected with the virus over the past 24 hours, and deaths also rose dramatically to 332.

But Chris Hopson, the head of NHS Providers, highlighted that Britons should be ‘careful’ when interpreting the daily figures, which now also reveal a concerning spike in hospital admissions.

He told The Times: ‘Although the numbers are going up and going up increasingly rapidly, the absence of large numbers of seriously ill older people is providing significant reassurance.

‘But they are aware that this may change after the Christmas period.

‘Trust CEOs know that the government has a high threshold to cross before it will introduce extra restrictions and can see why, in the absence of that surge of severely ill older people, that threshold hasn’t been crossed yet.’

This comes as the number of patients in hospitals in England has risen to 11,452, the highest number since February 26.

Mr Hopson said the threshold for further Covid-19 restrictions has not been reached yet (Picture: REX)

Mr Hopson said the threshold for further Covid-19 restrictions has not been reached yet (Picture: REX)
The latest data shows a further 189,213 people were infected with the virus over the past 24 hours (Graphic: Metro.co.uk)
Boris Johnson hailed the UK’s vaccine booster effort in a message to revellers ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations (Graphic: Metro.co.uk)

In London, which has been branded as the hotbed of Omicron, 3,477 beds were occupied by patients with confirmed Covid-19 cases.

Boris Johnson is expected to decide next week whether to implement limits on people mixing indoors.

The prime minister has already faced backlash – even from his own senior scientific advisers – for allowing New Year’s Eve parties to go ahead.

In a message to revellers preparing for a night out, he called for ‘cautious’ celebrations as he hailed the UK’s vaccine booster effort.

While many scientists have been calling for urgent measures to be implemented since mid-December, Mr Hopson revealed that health bosses understand why no restrictions have been announced yet.

He said this is due to the absence of a surge in severely ill elderly.

A steady stream of patients arriving at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel as Covid-positive cases are rising with the new Omicron variant (Picture: REX/Shutterstock)

A steady stream of patients arriving at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel as Covid-positive cases are rising with the new Omicron variant (Picture: REX/Shutterstock)

Later, he added that there is often no ‘obvious single right answer’ to these complex governmental decisions.

In a lengthy thread on Twitter, the NHS boss warned of the ‘significant impact’ staff absences have on hospitals.

The NHS announced yesterday ‘surge hubs’ are to be set up at hospitals across England in preparation for a potential wave of Omicron admissions, but Mr Hopson pointed out that the biggest challenge will be staffing them.

He commented: ‘The NHS does not currently have sufficient staff to service this extra capacity.

‘But if the NHS is using these hubs, we will be in an emergency situation and we would use an emergency, as opposed to regular, staffing model.

‘This would be an emergency and is much better than leaving patients untreated.

‘But important to understand that these hubs are a back up insurance policy. We hope never to have to use them. In that sense the NHS is, rightly, planning for the worst and hoping for the best.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected]

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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Chris Hopson, head of NHS Providers, said that Britons should be careful when interpreting Covid-19 data (Picture: REX)

Chris Hopson, head of NHS Providers, said that Britons should be careful when interpreting Covid-19 data (Picture: REX)

No new lockdown measures are needed in Britain despite the record-high number of Covid-19 cases, an NHS boss has said.

The latest data shows a further 189,213 people were infected with the virus over the past 24 hours, and deaths also rose dramatically to 332.

But Chris Hopson, the head of NHS Providers, highlighted that Britons should be ‘careful’ when interpreting the daily figures, which now also reveal a concerning spike in hospital admissions.

He told The Times: ‘Although the numbers are going up and going up increasingly rapidly, the absence of large numbers of seriously ill older people is providing significant reassurance.

‘But they are aware that this may change after the Christmas period.

‘Trust CEOs know that the government has a high threshold to cross before it will introduce extra restrictions and can see why, in the absence of that surge of severely ill older people, that threshold hasn’t been crossed yet.’

This comes as the number of patients in hospitals in England has risen to 11,452, the highest number since February 26.

Mr Hopson said the threshold for further Covid-19 restrictions has not been reached yet (Picture: REX)

Mr Hopson said the threshold for further Covid-19 restrictions has not been reached yet (Picture: REX)
The latest data shows a further 189,213 people were infected with the virus over the past 24 hours (Graphic: Metro.co.uk)
Boris Johnson hailed the UK’s vaccine booster effort in a message to revellers ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations (Graphic: Metro.co.uk)

In London, which has been branded as the hotbed of Omicron, 3,477 beds were occupied by patients with confirmed Covid-19 cases.

Boris Johnson is expected to decide next week whether to implement limits on people mixing indoors.

The prime minister has already faced backlash – even from his own senior scientific advisers – for allowing New Year’s Eve parties to go ahead.

In a message to revellers preparing for a night out, he called for ‘cautious’ celebrations as he hailed the UK’s vaccine booster effort.

While many scientists have been calling for urgent measures to be implemented since mid-December, Mr Hopson revealed that health bosses understand why no restrictions have been announced yet.

He said this is due to the absence of a surge in severely ill elderly.

A steady stream of patients arriving at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel as Covid-positive cases are rising with the new Omicron variant (Picture: REX/Shutterstock)

A steady stream of patients arriving at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel as Covid-positive cases are rising with the new Omicron variant (Picture: REX/Shutterstock)

Later, he added that there is often no ‘obvious single right answer’ to these complex governmental decisions.

In a lengthy thread on Twitter, the NHS boss warned of the ‘significant impact’ staff absences have on hospitals.

The NHS announced yesterday ‘surge hubs’ are to be set up at hospitals across England in preparation for a potential wave of Omicron admissions, but Mr Hopson pointed out that the biggest challenge will be staffing them.

He commented: ‘The NHS does not currently have sufficient staff to service this extra capacity.

‘But if the NHS is using these hubs, we will be in an emergency situation and we would use an emergency, as opposed to regular, staffing model.

‘This would be an emergency and is much better than leaving patients untreated.

‘But important to understand that these hubs are a back up insurance policy. We hope never to have to use them. In that sense the NHS is, rightly, planning for the worst and hoping for the best.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected]

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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