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4 Nov, 2020 18:06

‘Serious situation’: NHS England moves to highest alert level to stop Covid-19 cases ‘spiralling out of control’ in 2nd wave

‘Serious situation’: NHS England moves to highest alert level to stop Covid-19 cases ‘spiralling out of control’ in 2nd wave

NHS England will move to its highest alert level from midnight tonight as its chief executive warned that strident measures are needed to prevent Covid cases “spiralling out of control” and swamping the health service.

There are currently more than 10,000 Covid-19 patients hospitalized across England, with almost 1,000 on ventilators, according to government data.

Hospitals could handle about 20,000 coronavirus patients before hitting full capacity, according to NHS England on Wednesday. The agency's chief Sir Simon Stevens explained, however, that the country is currently dealing with “22 hospitals’ worth” of Covid-19 patients.

“We want to try and ensure that the health service is there for everybody, minimizing the disruption to the full range of care that we provide, not just Covid but cancer services, routine operations and mental health services.”

“And the truth, unfortunately, is that, if coronavirus takes off again, that will disrupt services,”

Also on rt.com Boris Johnson announces new 4-week England lockdown – all pubs, restaurants & ‘non-essential’ shops to shut down

The increased alert in the NHS comes as England is on the brink of a new four-week lockdown, under which all bars, restaurants, gyms and non-essential shops will be closed from November 5 to December 2.

MPs debated the new measures on Wednesday and approved them by 516 votes to 38, a majority of 478.

Health bosses see the measures as essential in trying to limit the spread of the virus and take the pressure off the health service, otherwise NHS England may have to start canceling non-urgent procedures.

The NHS England chief also said that pressures on the health system during the pandemic were not being experienced equally. Heightening the NHS England alert level seeks to address this problem, as it gives the organization centralized control over which hospitals receive Covid-19 patients.

A further 25,177 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK in the last 24 hours, according to government data released on Wednesday. Another 492 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus – an increase of 95 deaths compared to Tuesday's figures.

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