Covid-19: Act like you've got the virus, government urges

Grant Boone
January 10, 2021

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, declared a "major incident" in the city on Friday as a surge in COVID-19 cases threatened to overwhelm hospitals, with around 1 in 30 Londoners estimated to be infected with the virus. According to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the country has registered the most COVID-19 deaths in Europe and the fifth-highest number in the world.

Professor Robert West, a participant in the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) and also part of Independent Sage, echoed her words, saying the current lockdown rules are "still allowing a lot of activity which is spreading the virus".

The conman knocked on the door of the pensioner in Surbiton, southwest London, on December 30, claiming to work for the state-run National Health Service (NHS).

Khan urged the public to comply with lockdown measures as "if we do not take immediate action now, our NHS could be overwhelmed and more people will die".

Apple Mobility Trends shows the number of people on the move in London has plummeted back to near April levels.

"This will reduce new infections, ease the pressure on the NHS and save lives", he said. "But with cases rising so rapidly, our hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed. Stay at home to protect yourself, your family, friends and other Londoners and to protect our NHS", Khan said.

"We have the winter season and the virus survives longer in the cold, plus people spend more time indoors and we know aerosol transmission, which happens indoors, is a very big source of transmission for this virus".

A "major incident" means the "severity of the consequences" associated with it are "likely to constrain or complicate the ability of responders to resource and manage the incident".

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"The entirety of the health service in London is mobilising to do everything it possibly can, but the infections, the rate of growth in admissions, that is what collectively the country has got to get under control", Stevens said.

Around 46,000 NHS staff are now off sick with coronavirus after catching it in the community or while working, representing one in ten of Britain's doctors and nurses, according to the Doctor's Association.

Just over 7,000 people were in hospital in the capital in the week to Wednesday - up 27 percent on the previous seven days and 35 percent more than during the first wave peak last April.

Hospitals are also seeing far more younger people than during the first wave, scientists said.

Separate estimates by the ONS suggest around one in 115 people in private households in Scotland had Covid-19 in that period while in Northern Ireland, it was an estimated one in 200 people.

Britain has authorised a coronavirus vaccine developed by Moderna, the third to be licensed for use in the country as it ramps up a vaccination program critical to lifting the United Kingdom out of the pandemic.

Independent batch testing for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine takes around four days, the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control said.

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