The UK is facing its “greatest health emergency” since World War II, according to the NHS medical director for London.
At a press conference at 10 Downing Street, Dr. Vin Diwakar thanked the frontline staff for their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic.
He said that hospitals in London are under a lot of pressure and that patients may need to be sent to hospitals outside the capital.
While the NHS spent a lot of time preparing during the summer, the virus “moved extremely quickly”.
Dr. Diwakar said, “This pandemic is the greatest health emergency this country has faced since World War II.”
He painted a gloomy picture of the coronavirus situation in the capital.
Speaking at the Downing Street press conference, he said, “As the pressure of Covid-19 has increased, this has put pressure on the number of beds we have for other conditions.
“That’s why we opened Nightingale Hospital yesterday and admitted our first patients.
“This time around, we need patients without Covid. This means that our hospitals have more beds to care for Covid patients themselves and the sickest patients.
“But we cannot do this indefinitely. If this infection continues to spiral out of control, more and more patients will have to be moved from London to another location.”
He said there was “hope” with a hall of the ExCel center hosting the nightingale, which opened as London’s first mass vaccination center.
“I can tell you that Covid-19 is a terrible, terrible disease that is leaving so many, including young people, breathless and gasping for life,” he said after visiting a hospital in east London.
In early November, London had 1,000 Covid-19 patients.
That number quadrupled to 4,000 on Christmas Day and has doubled to just under 8,000 today, with more than 1,000 of them in intensive care.