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HealthMasks and social distancing if daily Covid admissions hit 1,200, Professor Lockdown...

Masks and social distancing if daily Covid admissions hit 1,200, Professor Lockdown says

Boris Johnson announced last month that masks, social distancing and vaccine passports might need to be brought back if the NHS comes under pressure

Boris Johnson announced last month that masks, social distancing and vaccine passports might need to be brought back if the NHS comes under pressure

Boris Johnson announced last month that masks, social distancing and vaccine passports might need to be brought back if the NHS comes under pressure

England may have to resort to its winter Covid ‘Plan B’ if daily hospital admissions for coronavirus breach 1,200, ‘Professor Lockdown‘ Neil Ferguson said today.  

Boris Johnson announced last month that face masks, social distancing and vaccine passports might need to be brought back if the NHS comes under unsustainable pressure.

Ministers said the trigger point will be hospital rates now that the jabs have made case numbers less important — but they have not put a threshold on admissions.

Professor Ferguson — a key Government adviser whose modelling prompted the first lockdown last March — suggested England should not tolerate more than 1,200 daily hospitalisations. For comparison, levels breached 4,000 during the darkest days of the second wave in January. 

Speaking to a cross-party committee of MPs today, he said that the country was currently recording around 600 Covid admissions per day.

He added: ‘If that figure were to double, we’d need to think about moving to “Plan B”.’ The epidemiologist, based at Imperial College London, called for ‘more intense’ curbs if there is a sharp rise in admissions. 

To get ahead of a winter wave, he said second doses for 16 and 17-year-olds could be brought forward and advised we are ‘more aggressive’ in administering boosters. 

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister today voiced growing confidence Covid will not spark further lockdowns, claiming that the country was on track to stick to ‘Plan A’. In a round of interviews at Tory conference in Manchester, Boris Johnson said: ‘The data that I see at the moment is very clear that we are right to stick to Plan A, which is what we are on.’

Experts giving evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus alongside Professor Ferguson warned that the UK was recording much higher case numbers —  34,000 on average each day — compared to its EU neighbours.

They also noted the UK has about 66 per cent of the population fully vaccinated compared to the likes of Portugal and Spain where up to eight in 10 are jabbed. This is mostly down to Britain having delayed rolling out jabs for healthy teenagers because of fears of side effects.

Professor Ferguson warned that high case rates, relatively low immunity and fewer hospital beds gave the UK less ‘headroom’ than its neighbours heading into the winter.

ENGLAND'S COVID HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS (SINCE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN): The number of Covid hospitalisations in England peaked during the second wave in January, when daily levels breached 4,000

ENGLAND'S COVID HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS (SINCE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN): The number of Covid hospitalisations in England peaked during the second wave in January, when daily levels breached 4,000

ENGLAND’S COVID HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS (SINCE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN): The number of Covid hospitalisations in England peaked during the second wave in January, when daily levels breached 4,000

ENGLAND'S COVID HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS (OVER THE LAST SIX MONTHS): A closer look at the data for the past six months shows admissions rose quickly in July, following a spike in cases

ENGLAND'S COVID HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS (OVER THE LAST SIX MONTHS): A closer look at the data for the past six months shows admissions rose quickly in July, following a spike in cases

ENGLAND’S COVID HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS (OVER THE LAST SIX MONTHS): A closer look at the data for the past six months shows admissions rose quickly in July, following a spike in cases

ENGLAND'S COVID HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS (OVER THE PAST MONTH): Coronavirus hospitalisations have been flattening off in England over the past month, data also shows

ENGLAND'S COVID HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS (OVER THE PAST MONTH): Coronavirus hospitalisations have been flattening off in England over the past month, data also shows

ENGLAND’S COVID HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS (OVER THE PAST MONTH): Coronavirus hospitalisations have been flattening off in England over the past month, data also shows

ENGLAND CASES: The number of people testing positive for Covid in England has levelled off over the past fortnight, after breaching 50,000 a day in July. Rates were highest in January, when the Alpha variant took off

ENGLAND CASES: The number of people testing positive for Covid in England has levelled off over the past fortnight, after breaching 50,000 a day in July. Rates were highest in January, when the Alpha variant took off

ENGLAND CASES: The number of people testing positive for Covid in England has levelled off over the past fortnight, after breaching 50,000 a day in July. Rates were highest in January, when the Alpha variant took off

ENGLAND DEATHS: The number of people dying from coronavirus every day in England now stands at about 80, and has been falling over the past few weeks. Fatalities breached 1,000 in the first wave last April, and 1,500 in the second wave in January

ENGLAND DEATHS: The number of people dying from coronavirus every day in England now stands at about 80, and has been falling over the past few weeks. Fatalities breached 1,000 in the first wave last April, and 1,500 in the second wave in January

ENGLAND DEATHS: The number of people dying from coronavirus every day in England now stands at about 80, and has been falling over the past few weeks. Fatalities breached 1,000 in the first wave last April, and 1,500 in the second wave in January

Boris Johnson warns WFH Britons they risk being ‘gossiped about’ 

Boris Johnson today warned Britons working from home that they risk being ‘gossiped about’ and missing out on ‘stimulus and competition’ unless they return to the office. 

The PM voiced growing confidence that Covid will not spark further lockdowns as he urged people to get ‘back to work in the normal way’.

He said getting back to offices was ‘essential for young people in particular’ as you cannot learn a job ‘just on Zoom’.

But Mr Johnson also admitted that not all of his own civil servants are back at their desks yet – stressing that the Cabinet Secretary had told them to return.

Some departments are thought to have as little as a tenth of staff routinely working in the office, although others are doing much better. 

In a round of interviews at Tory conference in Manchester, Mr Johnson told LBC radio the government was always ‘humble in the face of nature’ and recognised that ‘a new variant or another pandemic could always hit us’.

But he insisted: ‘The data that I see at the moment is very clear that we are right to stick to Plan A, which is what we are on.’

He added: ‘If you are going to learn on the job, you can’t just do it on Zoom,’ .

‘You have got to be able to come in, you have got to know what everyone else is talking about – otherwise you are going to be gossiped about and you are going to lose out.’  

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He said the political decision to ‘live with Covid’ was behind the country’s high transmission and had put the country in a vulnerable position heading into winter.

‘We are starting with quite a high incidence and so we don’t have very much headroom for increases,’ he told the committee.

‘If we compare, for instance, incidence of Covid cases per day in France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Portugal, there is a much lower level than us, so they can afford to see something of a surge of transmission, which they may well, without unduly stressing the health system.

‘We are much closer to the limit of what the NHS can cope with. We will come on to Plan B, I think that is what is exercising Whitehall and policymakers, is that limited headroom.’

He said there was a high level of unpredictability in the modelling but added: ‘We could see continued flat incidence, even slow decline if we get boosters out quickly.

‘So it’s not guaranteed we will see a large winter surge by any means, but we can’t afford, at the current time, to have too much of a winter surge before really the NHS is very heavily stressed.’ 

Asked about what other countries were doing, and whether the UK wants to keep case rates down, Professor Ferguson said: ‘The Government clearly has said, it’s not really science here, it’s a political judgment, they want to live with Covid.

‘Their prime criteria for acting is additional pressure on the NHS.’

He said ministers were right to use Covid admissions as the primary barometer.

‘The number one metric is NHS demand.

‘That is sensible because [vaccine] protection against death and ending up on a ventilator is higher than just against hospitalisation.

‘So hospitalisations and overall occupancy is going to be real stress point going forward.

‘I’m optimistic lessons have been learned [from previous waves] that we need to act promptly if we start seeing sustained increase in hospitalisations.’

Dr Jon Clyus, a public health expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the committee he expected some measures to have to be rolled back.

He urged the Government to start prepping the population for this, telling MPs: ‘Improving communication that the pandemic is not over will help to soften the blow.’

Despite the warnings from scientists, the PM insisted that the country was on the right tracks heading into winter.

Professor Ferguson suggested that England should not tolerate more than 1,200 daily hospitalisations this winter

Professor Ferguson suggested that England should not tolerate more than 1,200 daily hospitalisations this winter

The PM voiced growing confidence that Covid will not spark further lockdowns as he urged people to get 'back to work in the normal way'

The PM voiced growing confidence that Covid will not spark further lockdowns as he urged people to get 'back to work in the normal way'

Professor Ferguson suggested that England should not tolerate more than 1,200 daily hospitalisations this winter. Meanwhile, the PM voiced growing confidence that Covid will not spark further lockdowns as he urged people to get ‘back to work in the normal way’

 

In a round of interviews at Tory conference in Manchester, Mr Johnson told LBC radio the government was always ‘humble in the face of nature’ and recognised that ‘a new variant or another pandemic could always hit us’.

But he insisted: ‘The data that I see at the moment is very clear that we are right to stick to Plan A, which is what we are on.’

He even encouraged more people to get back to work despite SAGE insisting working from home was one of the best ways to keep transmission low in winter.  

He said getting back to offices was ‘essential for young people in particular’ as you cannot learn a job ‘just on Zoom’.

But Mr Johnson also admitted that not all of his own civil servants are back at their desks yet – stressing that the Cabinet Secretary had told them to return.

Some departments are thought to have as little as a tenth of staff routinely working in the office, although others are doing much better.  

He added: ‘If you are going to learn on the job, you can’t just do it on Zoom,’ .

‘You have got to be able to come in, you have got to know what everyone else is talking about – otherwise you are going to be gossiped about and you are going to lose out.’  

Source: Daily Mail | Health News

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