UK health officials warn that pandemic will enter the worst week

Commuters wait for the subway train at London’s Canary Wharf subway station during normal rush hours on Monday, January 11, 2021. A third national blockade will be imposed on the general public in England, where restrictions have been tightened to control the spread of the coronavirus. (Stefan Rousseau / PA via AP)

The UK’s chief health officer warned on Monday that it would be the worst pandemic for the National Health Service in the coming weeks, as it appealed to the public to strictly follow guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of the disease.

Chris Whitti said political leaders are considering tightening the rules, as new, more contagious variants of COVID-19 exacerbate already difficult situations. Hospitals are flooded and exhausted medical staff are nervous.

“I think everyone acknowledges that this is the most dangerous time we have actually experienced in terms of NHS participation,” Whitty told the BBC.

The warning is that UK hospitals are struggling to cope with the surge in coronavirus infections, and the number of beds filled by COVID-19 patients has been steadily increasing for more than a month. British hospitals are currently treating 55% more COVID-19 cases than at the first peak of the April pandemic.

“In a sense, tinkering with the rules may be useful, but much more important is that everyone adheres to the spirit of the rules that are currently there,” Whitty said. And I think that’s important. Minimize the number of contacts. “

England entered its third national blockade last week, closing all unwanted shops, schools, universities and colleges for at least six weeks. However, police have reported many violations of the rules requiring people to stay home, except for essential reasons such as exercise and grocery shopping.

UK health officials warn that pandemic will enter the worst week

People are waiting for an injection of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine at the Mass Vaccination Center in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, on Monday, January 11, 2021. This center is one of seven mass vaccination centers opened on Monday as the government continues. Strengthen the coronavirus vaccination program. (AP Photo / Scott Heppel)

Prime Minister spokesman Jamie Davis said the rules allow people to be outdoors for “exercise, not social”, but where to draw a line, such as having coffee to take home. He said there was confusion as to whether walking was counted as an exercise. When asked at the briefing if people were allowed to sit alone on a park bench, he said, “Let’s get rid of it and come back to you.”

The government hopes that this restriction will ease the burden on the NHS and strengthen its national mass vaccination program. Seven large vaccination centers will open on Monday, attending approximately 1,000 sites nationwide, including hospitals, practitioner clinics, and some drug stores.

At a center in Stevenage, north of London, the medical personnel who manage the shots explained that the mood was full of relief and joy.

“They are actually very emotional and I’m really pleased that there is some hope at the end of this tunnel,” said Caroline Shepherd, a clinical expert on vaccination for the Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust. “I’m really happy to be here. Thank you. I’m really grateful to the NHS,” some people are weeping. “

When visiting the Bristol center, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said more than 2 million people in the UK had been vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine so far. The government’s goal is to vaccinate 15 million people by mid-February, targeting people over the age of 70, front-line healthcare workers, and others who are particularly vulnerable to the virus. The government says this could protect and ease regulations on people who account for nearly 90% of coronavirus-related deaths.

“We can’t be complacent. Now the worst thing is to successfully deploy a vaccine program to foster complacency of all kinds about a pandemic condition,” Johnson said.

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UK health officials warn that pandemic will enter the worst week

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