COVID: NHS leader reveals if the UK needs new restrictions

NHS leaders have reassured the public that the government's decision not to impose further restriction are not unfounded.

COVID in the UK
© Clovis Wood Photography/UNSPLASH
COVID in the UK

Daily coronavirus cases have been soaring in the UK like never before, with a record of over 188,000 cases reported on 30 December alone. These numbers may seem exceptionally concerning, but the government has not yet decided on whether the situation is dire enough to reintroduce strict measures, including a potential lockdown.

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Authorities believe that it could be avoided given that the Omicron variant, which has triggered this gigantic surge of cases, has not been causing severe infections.

NHS stance on restrictions

Most recently, NHS chief Chris Hopson, said that the government’s decision not to impose more restrictions is actually not completely out of line, especially given that there is not a ‘surge in severely ill people.’ He told the BBC:

So on that basis, trust leaders can see why the government's arguing that in the absence of a surge of seriously ill patients coming into hospital, that threshold hasn't yet been crossed.
But we still don't know if the surge will come and indeed we're exactly talking about the preparations that we're making or that surge right now.

However, he added that if the threshold is passed, authorities have to be ready to roll out restrictions as fast as possible. He said:

So in terms of restrictions, I think we're in exactly the same place we've been in for the last fortnight, which is the government needs to be ready to introduce tighter restrictions at real speed should they be needed.

Deliberation on new curbs

Prime Minister Boris Johnson held off on reimposing restrictions during the holiday season, but a predicted uptick of cases after Christmas and New Year celebrations may push him to enforce new measures—specifically related to indoor socialising and drinking in pubs.

Johnson is due to address the nation with a New Year’s Eve message on Friday (31 December) in which he is expected to recap the success of the vaccination campaign and also give a word of caution. A press release published by GOV.UK reported that he will say:

And as I speak tonight on New Year’s Eve, we’ve met our target, we’ve doubled the speed of the booster roll out. And it’s precisely because of that huge national effort that we can celebrate tonight at all.
Though I must of course urge everyone to be cautious and to take a test if you are going out and to remember the importance of ventilation.
NHS medics urge the UK to reinstate COVID restrictions to avoid 'profound crisis' NHS medics urge the UK to reinstate COVID restrictions to avoid 'profound crisis'