A health chief has called for a more informed debate on the proposed lifting of all legal restrictions on social contact in England on June 21 when Labor asked if the move would continue.
The continued spread of India’s variant of coronavirus has led experts to argue that restrictions should remain in place until more people have received both doses of a vaccine, while ministers are reportedly devising plans to partially end the lockdown.
Chris Hopson, CEO of NHS Providers, told BBC Breakfast that, according to the BBC, a “much better quality of debate” is needed about the effects of easing measures.
Hospitals looked at patients with complex needs who had previously delayed treatment in the pandemic and now required longer stays, he said.
The staff had gone “into full swing” to deal with waiting lists and did not have the room for a significant increase in Covid patients, he added.
“While it is good news that the vaccinations are working – and I think this sends us a message regarding the June 21 opening – we must remember that there are still many people who need to be vaccinated , and we know this Indian variant is much more transferable, ”said Hopson.
“So there is going to be a very difficult decision to make about how much we open and how quickly, and so we’re calling very clearly this morning. Let’s have the best quality of the compromise debate here and, if I may be brave enough, let’s try to have a better quality of evidence-based debate on how quickly we should ease lockdown measures than we might in earlier stages have done. “
He also suggested that the government should consider the increasing burden on hospitals in the UK vacation hotspots in the coming months, saying trust staff in such areas were “really concerned” before the summer.
Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer wrote in The Observer that “weak, slow decisions” by the government on border policy had allowed the Indian variant to spread.
He added that the “greatest threat” to the full reopening of England was “government incompetence”.
New figures show that more than half of 30 year olds in England got a coronavirus vaccination in just over two weeks.
NHS England said that 53% of 30-39 year olds have received at least one dose since the vaccine for this age group began launching on May 13.
People aged 30 to 31 were the last group invited to their jab starting Wednesday. The national booking service made more than five million appointments within 72 hours.
Current data suggests that while hospital admissions are increasing in some parts of the country affected by the Indian variant, overall admissions remain largely unchanged.
Meanwhile, the reproduction number – the R-value – for England is 1 to 1.1, up from 0.9 and 1.1 the previous week, suggesting that the epidemic is on the rise.
A scientific adviser has warned of confusion that the government’s handling of Covid restrictions is undermining efforts to fight the virus.
Professor Stephen Reicher, a psychologist on the Sage subcommittee advising behavioral ministers, said the government was in a “pickle” for apparently abandoning the principle of “data, not data”.
UK intelligence officials reportedly believe the pandemic, which began with a leak from a research laboratory in Wuhan, China, is “feasible.”
The Times says the development, which Beijing angrily denied, prompted US diplomatic sources to share their concerns: “We are a wet market or a bio-laboratory away from the nearest overflow.”