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18 Jan, 2021 12:45

NHS National Medical Director warns falling Covid-19 infections won’t reduce ‘severe pressure’ on hospitals for several weeks

NHS National Medical Director warns falling Covid-19 infections won’t reduce ‘severe pressure’ on hospitals for several weeks

The NHS National Medical Director has warned that it will take several weeks for the pressure on the country’s healthcare service to be reduced, despite falling Covid-19 infections, as the UK remains in lockdown.

Professor Stephen Powis told Sky News that, while the national lockdown has helped to flatten Covid-19 infection rates, the large number of hospital admissions over the Christmas period and at the start of 2021 will see the NHS remain under “severe pressure” for several weeks.

Laying out the scale of the situation, Powis explained how “it will take a couple of weeks before that feeds through into relieving pressure in hospitals and, of course, the vaccine programme won’t work until way into February."

The NHS is under severe pressure throughout the country and especially here in London and around London, where the new variant of the virus really got hold

The NHS announced on Sunday that it will start inoculating the second priority group, over-70s, this week. Alongside his warning about the pressure the NHS is facing, Powis spoke about the vaccine rollout, declaring that “we can’t wait until we’ve vaccinated everybody” in each priority group before expanding the rollout of the jabs to other sections of the population.

Also on rt.com Britain is immunising ‘140 people per minute’ against Covid-19, but vaccine production is ‘lumpy,’ minister says

In order to meet the demand required to distribute the vaccine, Powis revealed that London will open 24/7 vaccine centres in the next week or two, with a view to quickly expand its rollout of the three drugs that have been approved in the country. Currently, the UK has authorised the use of the Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech jabs.

On January 17, the UK government reported 323,614 new infections in the previous seven days, a decrease of 22.5 percent on the previous week’s data. However, with hospitals across the nation still overwhelmed by the virus, deaths in the last seven days rose by 23.1 percent. 

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