December 14, 2020 at 1:03 am #3612
Senior NHS doctors have warned that a third wave of coronavirus is likely to happen if lockdown restrictions are eased too much.
Bosses from the health service penned a letter to Boris Johnson in which they urged “extreme caution” over the current tier system.
The hospital chiefs believe relaxing restrictions further could trigger a third COVID-19 wave at the busiest time of year for hospitals.
Next week, the government is set to review England’s tier allocation, two weeks since the nationwide lockdown ended.NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts in England, warned in the letter against loosening the lockdown for areas with high infection rates.
Chief executive Chris Hopson said: “We’re about to hit our busiest time of year so people are really worried that if we relax the restrictions now the NHS simply won’t be able to cope with all of the work that it needs to do in late December, January and February.”
The letter also said it was “vital” the public understands the risks of extra social contact during the festive period.
Social distancing rules will be relaxed for five days between December 23 and 27, allowing family members to hug for the first time in months.Watch: Hancock warns NHS facing ‘herculean taks’ with vaccine rollout
A government spokeswoman said ministers will not “hesitate to take necessary actions to protect local communities” and that decisions are made based on the latest available data.
“We have introduced strengthened local restrictions to protect the progress gained during national restrictions, reduce pressure on the NHS and ultimately save lives,” she said.
“On top of our record NHS investment, this winter we are providing an extra £3 billion to maintain independent sector and Nightingale hospital surge capacity and a further £450 million to upgrade and expand A&Es.”
On Saturday, the government said a further 519 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19 in the UK, with a further 21,502 lab-confirmed cases of the virus.