As the new variant of Covid surges through the country, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, that UK’s state-run hospitals will face “considerable pressure” in the coming weeks due to the nationwide spread of Omicron infection.
The prime minister’s comments come amid growing calls to tighten restrictions over the festive period in England, unlike in other UK regions where nightclubs have closed and there are limits on social gatherings.
Speaking to reporters on a visit to Buckinghamshire, the prime minister said the country was in a “much better position” than this time last year thanks to vaccinations.
Defending his move to impose lighter restrictions, he said, “Mixture of things we’re doing at the moment were the correct measures.”
The prime minister stressed continuing with “Plan B”, which includes mask wearing in certain indoor settings and guidance to work from home where possible, ensuring it is taken “seriously” by people.
On Monday, 157,758 new coronavirus cases were reported across England and Scotland, with data from Wales and Northern Ireland to be reported after the holiday weekend.
A further 42 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test were reported in England.
Around 50,000 NHS staff were absent from work Friday because they were ill or self-isolating due to Covid-19, The Sunday Times newspaper reported.
Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents hospitals in England, told Sky News that “the pressure on hospitals outside London is now growing” after the capital bore the brunt of virus cases earlier.
The number of people in hospital with Covid in England was reported on Sunday as the highest since February at more than 13,000, with 769 of those on ventilators.