FACE MASKS and social distancing should be reinstated to protect the NHS after a massive spike in Covid cases, a senior NHS leader has urged.
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, wants ministers to discuss “sensible precautions” Britons can take to ease the pressure on healthcare.
He also warned of major concerns within the NHS that the government “seems to not want to talk about the coronavirus anymore”.
The NHS boss instead said the UK needed a “proper national debate about what living with Covid actually means”. The times reports.
It follows comments from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who announced the end of all legal measures covid Restrictions in England in February.
Mr Johnson said at the time: “Let us learn to live with this virus and continue to protect ourselves and others without restricting our freedoms.”
Hopson added that the pretense that Covid “is gone and no one needs to take precautions” has been one of the reasons for the record number of infections in recent weeks.
The British Medical Association has called for the reintroduction of masks and free testing to curb the spread in hospitals.
A further 27,255 positive cases have been recorded in the UK in the latest figures from Thursday April 14 as Covid rages across the UK.
And in the previous seven days, a shocking 1,984 deaths were recorded within 28 days of a positive test.
It comes as almost 16,000 patients are currently being hospitalized with the virus – double the number a few weeks ago.
And to make matters worse, shocking new statistics revealed that more than 70,000 healthcare workers are currently on sick leave – 40 per cent of them have Covid.
“Nobody in the NHS either expected or predicted this level of Covid at this point,” he said.
“It creates a real, real pressure.”
Hopson stressed, “No one is arguing we should go back to draconian lockdown restrictions, but it’s not all or nothing.”
He argued how other European nations have reached an “intermediate point” where the level of risk is exposed to the public.
This included leaders telling the public to “think carefully” about mask-wearing, ventilation and assessing how many people they meet with.
Hopson went on to say that the debate on Covid restrictions should be supported by Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the Chief Scientific Adviser.
Pressure on the NHS has also increased due to the 20,000 patients in hospital beds who are medically fit but cannot be discharged due to pressure on social services.
Hopson has been told this is because at least a quarter of the UK’s 18,000 care homes have had Covid outbreaks.
He said the NHS was “taking a higher risk than ever” and was swamped with pressures that usually come “in the depths of winter”.
The chief of NHS providers referred to a recent board meeting that highlighted how the NHS is going through its “toughest time of any length”.
The number of people waiting for hospital treatment to start rose to a record 6.2 million in February, according to new data released on Thursday.
https://www.thesun.ie/health/8666942/facemasks-social-distancing-brought-back-protect-nhs/ Face masks and social distancing rules should be brought back to protect the NHS after Covid surge, health chief says