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Coronavirus | U.K. in ‘eye of storm’ as cases surge

Overstretched system: Medics transporting a patient from an ambulance to the Royal London Hospital on Friday.   | Photo Credit: HANNAH MCKAY

British medics warned on Friday that hospitals around the country face a perilous few weeks amid surging new coronavirus infections that have been blamed on a new variant of the virus.

A day after the U.K. posted a record 55,892 new infections and another 964 coronavirus-related deaths, concerns are mounting about the impact on the overstretched National Health Service. Field hospitals that were constructed in the early days of the pandemic but that were subsequently mothballed are being reactivated.

The Royal College of Nursing’s England director, Mike Adams, told Sky News that the U.K. was in the “eye of the storm” and that it was “infuriating” to see people not following the social distancing guidance or wearing masks.

A leading physician also warned of burnout among health workers on the front line of the outbreak in hospitals, while also urging people to follow the rules.

“I am worried,” Adrian Boyle, vice-president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, told the BBC. “We are very much at battle stations.”

New infections have more than doubled in recent weeks after a new variant that is said to be around 70% more contagious was found to be behind a big spike in cases around London and the southeast of England.

Given the lags between new cases and hospitalisations and subsequently deaths, there are huge concerns about the path of the pandemic over the coming month or two in a country that has Europe’s second-highest virus-related death toll at nearly 74,000.

As a result of the spike, the strategy around the rollout of vaccines has been changed to get more people an initial jab as soon as possible, with a scheduled second one delayed.


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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 6:07:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/coronavirus-uk-in-eye-of-storm-as-cases-surge/article33474850.ece

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