Covid news – live: NHS in ‘state of crisis’ as Boris Johnson insists no new rules needed

No new Covid restrictions needed at present, says Boris Johnson

The NHS is in a “state of crisis”, leaders have warned as hospitals across the country declared critical incidents

Boris Johnson admitted the pressure on hospitals will last for “weeks” but insisted no new Covid restrictions are needed at the moment.

The prime minister urged the public to keep following existing plan B measures, which he insisted were the “right approach”. Speaking outside a vaccination hub in Buckinghamshire, Mr Johnson also predicted “considerable” pressure over the next couple of weeks – and maybe even longer.

The UK recored 157,758 new cases on Monday. Some 137,541 of the cases were in England, while Scotland recorded its highest daily case total ever, at 20,217. Wales and Northern Ireland were not included in the data due to a break in reporting over New Year.

Meanwhile, education secretary Nadhim Zahawi said this morning it was his “top priority” to ensure schools stayed open during the current wave of infections, having witnessed the “painful lesson” closing sites taught leaders last year at the height of the pandemic.

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Scotland records highest-ever daily cases at 20,217

Over to Scotland, where the number of daily coronavirus cases is at its highest since the pandemic began, at 20,217.

The latest data, published by the Scottish government on Monday, show 65,860 new tests for Covid-19 reported results and 34.9 per cent were positive.

The figures include a note advising of delays in between tests being taken and results being reported but saying Public Health Scotland is monitoring the situation.

There were 1,031 people in hospital on Sunday with recently confirmed Covid-19 and 38 were in intensive care, the data shows.

Additional reporting by PA

Sam Hancock3 January 2022 14:34
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Belgium orders 10,000 each of Covid pills

Belgium has agreed to buy 10,000 courses each of the Covid-19 antiviral oral treatments developed by Pfizer and Merck & Co, a spokesman for the health ministry said.

Governments around the world are scrambling to buy paxlovid, the pill developed by Pfizer.

The UK has ordered 2.7m courses of paxlovid and 2.m of Merck’s molnupiravir pill, which is already being offered to vulnerable adults.

Liam James3 January 2022 21:20
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Covid leaves behind self-attacking antibodies, according to study

Months after recovering from Covid, people have raised levels of antibodies that can mistakenly attack their own organs and tissues, even if they had not been severely ill, according to new research.

Among 177 healthcare workers who recovered before vaccines were available, all had persistent autoantibodies, including ones that can cause chronic inflammation and injury of the joints, skin and nervous system.

“We don’t yet know how much longer, beyond six months, the antibodies will stay elevated and/or lead to any important clinical symptoms,” said Susan Cheng of the Cedars-Sinai Smidt Heart Institute in Los Angeles.

Her team is investigating whether autoantibody levels are linked with persistent symptoms in people with long Covid. Their findings were published in the Journal of Translational Medicine.

Liam James3 January 2022 20:59
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US Congress suffers Covid surge

The US Congress is experiencing an unprecedented rise in Covid-19 cases, with the seven-day positivity rate at a congressional test site surging to 1 per cent from just per cent in late November, the Capitol’s attending physician said today.

The surge comes as the number of new Covid-19 cases in the US has doubled in the last seven days to an average of 418,000 a day, according to a Reuters tally.

Liam James3 January 2022 20:38
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Toronto schoolchildren back to remote learning as other measures introduced

The government of Canada’s biggest city Toronto has announced restrictions to tackle the spread of the Omicron variant as officials warned a “tsunami” of new cases was imminent.

All schools in Ontario province will move to remote learning from Wednesday for at least a fortnight, amid backlash from some parents who said closures would cause long-term damage to children.

Among other measures is a capacity cap of 50 per cent on shops and indoor ceremonies such as weddings and funerals.

Liam James3 January 2022 20:15
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Mozambique president tests positive for Covid

Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi and his wife Isaura have tested positive for Covid-19 and are isolating, his office said.

Mozambique’s coronavirus infections are at their peak, data from a Reuters tracker show, with the average number of new cases increasing for seven days in a row.

Liam James3 January 2022 19:55
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New Year’s Eve saw ‘shift in behaviour’ away from pre-Christmas caution

New Year’s Eve saw a “shift in behaviour” away from the cautious attitude of shoppers ahead of Christmas, retail experts say.

Footfall was up 5.2 per cent on UK high streets compared with a week earlier on Christmas Eve, according to data from industry analyst Springboard.

In central London alone, footfall surged by 54.8 per cent on New Year’s Eve from a week earlier.

Before the pandemic in 2019, high street footfall across the UK dropped by 9 per cent on New Year’s Eve from Christmas Eve.

Liam James3 January 2022 19:30
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Full report: ‘State of crisis’ – hospitals declare critical incidents as PM warns pressure to last for weeks

The NHS is in “state of crisis”, leaders have warned as hospitals across the country declared critical incidents and prime minister Boris Johnson admitted pressures will last for “weeks”.

Our health correspondent Rebecca Thomas reports:

Matt Mathers3 January 2022 19:10
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Bins ‘overflowing’ with Christmas waste amid staff shortage caused by Covid

Covid-related staff shortages across England are causing “terrible” rubbish collection delays, local politicians have warned, with bins in some areas left “overflowing” with waste from the festive period.

Councillors in London, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Buckinghamshire have said bin collection services have been scaled back as workers continue to fall sick with the virus.

Chelmsford City Council confirmed 23 members of staff were absent and cancelled three days’ worth of food waste collections.

North Somerset Council said they had been unable to pick up 1,000 recycling bins on New Year’s Eve as crews remain “stretched due to staff sickness”.

Stephanos Ioannou, a Conservative councillor in Enfield, said the number of complaints about missed bin collections was roughly double the average for this time of year.

“I’ve been driving round my ward and seeing bins overflowing and Christmas trees are left outside,” he told the PA news agency.

“Over the Christmas period, usually I get on average 30 emails a week on waste services.

“I checked my inbox yesterday… and had about 50 or 60.”

Matt Mathers3 January 2022 18:54
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Parts of NHS in crisis, health boss warns

Many parts of the health service are “in a state of crisis”, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation has warned.

Matthew Taylor said that “in many parts of the health service, we are currently in a state of crisis” and that in the face of staff absence and high demand levels, some hospitals were having to declare “a critical incident”.

“Some hospitals are making urgent calls to exhausted staff to give up rest days and leave to enable them to sustain core services,” he wrote in a blog published on Monday.

He added that many hospitals had been forced to ban visitors to reduce the spread of infection, while “NHS England is continuing to plan for surge capacity”.

“Community and social care services, which were already massively overstretched, are at breaking point.

“In many areas, ambulance services are unable to meet their target response times,” he added.

Matt Mathers3 January 2022 18:21


Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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