ITV News visited a pharmacy and continued to give booster jabs out on New Year’s Day when Sajid Javid said Britain should ‘live with’ Covid, reports correspondent Neil Connery
Britain must “live with” Covid-19 and any new one coronavirus restrictions “should be an absolute last resort,” the health secretary has said.
Sajid Javid said the record-breaking Omicron wave of infection will “test the limits of limited NHS capacity even more than a typical winter”, as reports suggested a work-from-home order in the UK could be in place for most of January to slow down the spread of transmissible variant.Government figures show that a further 189,846 laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases were recorded within 24 hours to 1 p.m. for the fourth day in a row, Britain broke its own record.
But a leading statistician said the actual number of daily cases could be closer to half a million, with Britain entering the new year amid an “unprecedented wave” of infections.
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Javid, writes in the Daily Mail, said that England had “welcome to 2022 with some of the least restrictive measures in Europe”, Where the British government is at odds with the decentralized nations in choosing to keep nightclubs open and let hospitality work without further measures for New Year celebrations.
“Band stones in our freedom must be an absolute last resort, and the British people rightly expect us to do everything in our power to avert them,” the health minister wrote.
“Since I got into this role six months ago, I’ve also been very aware of the huge health, social and economic costs of lockdowns.
“So I have been determined that we should give ourselves the best chance of living with the virus and avoid strict measures in the future.”
The cabinet minister said the time lag between infections and hospitalizations meant it was “inevitable that we will still see a large increase” in Covid patients over the next month, warning that when the corona crisis entered its third years, the pandemic is “still far from over”.
In response to Mr Javid’s statement, NHS Provider CEO Chris Hopson said: “We have been very clear on every point over the last two or three weeks, which is that the government should be ready to impose further restrictions when and when they are necessary and when the evidence shows that they are necessary.
“And they should be ready to do it at a pace.”
He explained that the NHS is under pressure due to a combination of things going on, rising hospital admissions, elective surgeries that can not wait any longer, the booster campaign and staff absenteeism from Covid infections.
Chris Hopson, NHS Providers CEO, says the government needs to have restrictions ready to be rolled out ‘at a pace’ if necessary
In an explanation of the setup of Nightingale “surge hubs” said: “We are creating the new surge hubs because we know we may be about to be at the end of a significant number of people coming to hospital treatment.
“What we need to do is increase capacity, as we did in January last year, but we think we may need a super capacity increase, which is why the eight hubs and probably more will be created.
“The question and challenge will be to man them, and the assumption will be, if we use them, we will be in an emergency, and we will therefore have to use an emergency manning model.”
Hospital admissions in the UK are at their highest since January last year, with 2,370 Covid-19 patients received on December 29 – a 90% week-on-week increase.
The Daily Telegraph reported that work from home, which is in place as part of England’s Plan B measures – and also includes widespread masking in public places and mandatory Covid passports for major events – could be set to continue for another three weeks.
The restrictions introduced last month are set to expire six weeks after implementation, with a revision after three weeks, which is expected on or close to Tuesday, January 4th.
But the newspaper said the review, which it said is likely to be timed for when MPs return to Westminster on Wednesday, could see work from home remain in place for the latter half of the month.
prime minister Boris Johnson had originally stated that he wanted the measures repealed “by the beginning of January and possibly before”.
It comes as Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, a Cambridge University statistician and government adviser, said Britain’s daily Covid-19 cases could be closer to 500,000 because the test regime is over-stretched and that reinfections are not counted in the UK. government data.
“This is a huge, unprecedented wave of infection and very frightening,” the adviser to the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) told the BBC.
But Sir David said the deaths “had not yet increased” and that the country could be “rather optimistic” in avoiding the kind of pressure seen during the last winter wave.
“It looks like we’re going to have a huge wave of cases and that’s going to cause a lot of disruption, of course in hospitals and other services, but in terms of translating to the very serious results, I think we can be quite optimistic, said Sir David.
“Things will get worse, but it will not be like the previous waves.”