A UK government minister says that Britain could soon revert back to its ‘protect the NHS’ Covid policy as hospital admissions are on brink of hitting 18 month high
Free Covid tests and mandatory mask wearing could be reintroduced to protect the NHS as the increase in the number of ‘cases’ starts to impact on the health service’s ability to treat other conditions.
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Apparently only a fraction of patients (36%) are primarily ill with Covid, suggesting that the rise in cases (confirmed by an extrordinarily inaccurate covid ‘test’) is the result of high infection rates
The Mail Online reports: Lord Syed Kamall, a junior health minister, said the extortionate free lateral flow testing scheme may return as he raised the prospect of mandatory face masks also making a comeback. Both measures were axed in April as part of No10’s ‘living with Covid’ plan.
He told the House of Lords today: ‘They [health officials] are still focusing on the backlog. If it gets to a point where it is affecting the backlog then clearly measures may well have to be introduced.’
Individual hospitals have already started to reintroduce face masks and social distancing in corridors and waiting rooms as Covid hospital admissions near an 18-month high, in the first sign of curbs creeping back into normal life.
There were 1,911 Covid admissions in England on July 4 – the latest date with data – and at current pace they are due to rise further in the coming days. If average daily admissions rise above 2,100 it will mark the highest number since the peak of the second wave in January 2021 – when there were more than 4,000.
But only a third of patients are primarily sick with Covid, which suggests rising admissions are a symptom of high infection rates rather than severe disease.
The majority (64 per cent) are known as ‘incidental’ cases — patients who went to hospital for a different reason but happened to test positive.
More than 2.7million Britons were estimated to have been infected with Covid — one in 24 people — at the end of June. Trusts have warned they face rising staff absences caused by high levels of transmission in the community, combined with additional admission pressure.
In the House of Lords, peers questioned what the Government was prepared to do in the face of rising cases.
Labour peer Lord Hunt of Kings Heath said: ‘Can I ask him this, he said earlier that the incident rise is now leading to increased hospitalisations. What impact is that now having on the backlog?’
Health minister Lord Kamall replied: ‘I asked this very same question when I had the meeting with the UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency) officials earlier on.
‘They are still focusing on the backlog. If it gets to a point where it is affecting the backlog then clearly measures may well have to be introduced.’
The minister had earlier told peers: ‘We continue to see Covid case rates and hospitalisations rising in all age groups, with the largest increases in hospitalisations and ICU admissions in those aged 75 and older.
‘The largest proportion of those hospitalised are for reasons other than Covid, however Covid is identified due to the increasing case rates in the community and the high rate of testing in hospital, including among those with no respiratory systems. Current data does not point to cases becoming more severe.’
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