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Health service under strain: Boris Johnson

Tue 04 Jan 2022, 13:19:19
London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Monday that country’s health system will remain under strain for weeks amid current surge in coronavirus infections, but suggested there would be no tightening of measures soon to slow spread.

The highly transmissible omicron variant has sent Britain’s daily new caseload soaring over Christmas and the New Year, with 137,583 infections and 73 deaths reported for England and Wales only on Sunday, with numbers for Scotland and Northern Ireland to be announced after the holiday weekend.

“I think we’ve got to recognize that the pressure on our NHS, on our hospitals, is going to be considerable in course the next couple of weeks, and maybe more,” Johnson said during a visit to a vaccination center in Aylesbury, 85 kilometers (53 miles) northwest of London.

Johnson was speaking after The Sunday Times newspaper reported that a group of hospitals in eastern county of Lincolnshire had declared a “critical incident” due to “extreme and unprecedented” staff shortages. Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents health trusts that run hospitals around the country, told BBC: “We’re seeing increasing staff absences, and that’s coming on top of a very significant amount of wider pressure.”

And Matthew Taylor,  chief executive of NHS Confederation that represents 1.5 million health workers, said much of health service is in “a state of crisis” that’s exacerbated by a high demand for services and staff absences. “Some hospitals are making urgent calls to exhausted staff to give up rest days and leave to enable them to sustain core services.



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