With more than 53,000 cases, the British authorities have reported more new corona infections in one day than ever before. The health system is coming under increasing pressure – with consequences for patients and nursing staff.
The worsening corona situation is pushing the British health system to its limits. Ambulances jammed in front of some emergency rooms, as reported by the British media. A hospital employee in Kent, England, reported that some patients had to wait up to six hours for an ambulance. Now some clinics are even considering setting up triage tents in front of the entrances, also to better control the influx of patients.
The number of corona cases continues to rise
On Tuesday, the authorities reported 53,135 new infections, a new high. In addition, more corona patients are being treated in hospitals than at the previous peak in spring. A new variant of the corona virus in particular is blamed for the rapidly increasing number of new infections. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said just before Christmas that the mutation was highly contagious and spreading quickly.
So far, London and southern England have been particularly hard hit. A new highest corona warning level has been in force in these areas for a good week. Accordingly, millions of people are not allowed to receive visits and should only leave their homes in important cases such as work or visits to the doctor. But there are also severe restrictions on private and public life in other parts of the country.
“Now we’re in the eye of the storm again”
The head of the British NHS health service, Simon Stevens, thanked the clinic and nursing staff for their continuous work. “Many of us have lost relatives, friends and colleagues. And at a time when we were going to be partying, many people understandably feel anxious, frustrated and drained,” Stevens said in a video message. “And now we are back in the eye of the storm, which is sweeping through Europe and our country with a second Corona wave.”
The head of the Doctors’ Association UK, Samantha Batt-Rawden, wrote on Twitter that the nursing staff had been doing extra work for months. “Lots of people canceled their Christmas party to volunteer for extra shifts. But the truth is, lots of people are dead.”
Emergency physician Simon Walsh of the British Medical Association said many clinics were already operating in exceptional mode. “You have to deal with queues for ambulances outside of many emergency rooms, often with patients who have sat in the ambulance for long hours because there is simply no room for them.”
Demands for longer school closings
Due to the difficult health situation, calls for longer schools to be closed after the Christmas holidays are growing louder. Zubaida Haque of the scientific panel of experts Sage told ITV that it is not safe to open schools on January 4th as planned, “Children have to go to school, but they have to go to a safe school.”
Mass tests for schoolchildren and students are also planned. Here the government relies on the help of the military. 1500 members of the army are to support the young people, as the Ministry of Defense announced in London. However, the majority will provide help over the phone or the Internet. Schoolchildren and students should test themselves under supervision.