Kwasi Kwarteng says talk of restrictions ‘unhelpful’ as NHS boss says health service faces ‘perfect storm’
- UK reports 233 Covid deaths, highest since March
- US to allow Americans to ‘mix and match’ booster shots of Covid vaccine
- Offshoot of Covid Delta variant on the rise across England
- Ministers urged to enact sweeping ‘plan B’ measures or risk NHS crisis
- English vaccine centres to take children’s bookings from next week
- Calls to charge Brazil president with murder over Covid toll
- See all our coronavirus coverage
Chief executive of the NHS confederation Matthew Taylor has been on Sky News in the UK, and he had a strong message in support of the government taking steps towards “plan B” and take some action to avert a healthcare crisis over the winter. He said
The question is do we need to act? And I would say the overwhelming evidence is we do need to act, and then the question is, is it better to act early and take measures which don’t stop the economy working – but I recognise they are inconvenient – or do we wait, wait for things to get worse, and possibly risk having to take more severe measures.
So, the elements of plan B enable us to carry on with our lives, carry on with the economy, but to do so in a way which produces the risk. And after all, most of the measures in plan B are measures that other countries in Europe are continuing to enact, and they have lower infection rates than we do.
The government said that the criteria for determining whether or not we enacted elements of plan B was the position of the health service, and the health service is facing a perfect storm.
Winter is always tough for the health service for various reasons. We have got thousands of Covid patients in hospital, and it looks like those numbers are rising in line with the rising infection rate. And we’ve also got the huge pent-up demand that’s built up over the last 18 months.