Covid: More restrictions needed to stop hospital admissions hitting 3,000 a day, experts say

The minutes reportedly call the timing of new measures “critical”

Grace Almond
Friday 17 December 2021 23:27
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<p>The leaked Sage meeting minutes reportedly say stricter measures “could substantially reduce the peak in hospital admissions"</p>

The leaked Sage meeting minutes reportedly say stricter measures “could substantially reduce the peak in hospital admissions"

Stricter measures are needed “very soon” in England if ministers want to stop hospital admissions increasing to 3,000 per day, experts have said.

In leaked minutes seen by the BBC, a document from a meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) held on Thursday says there are “many uncertainties” about the future path of hospitalisations linked to the new Omicron variant.

It comes after the new fast-spreading variant was declared the dominant one in the UK by the UK Health and Security Agency (HSA).

According to the leaked minutes, the Sage advisers said that without intervention from government with tougher Covid restrictions, hospital admissions could reach “at least” 3,000 a day in England, the BBC reports.

The minutes say: “If the aim is to reduce the levels of infection in the population and prevent hospitalisations reaching these levels, more stringent measures would need to be implemented very soon.”

New analysis by the HSA has also revealed that London, the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside, and the north east all have doubling rates of around 1.5 days of the fast-spreading new variant.

In the East Midlands, eastern England, north west and south east, the virus is spreading slightly slower but doubling every two days or less.

The minutes from Thursday’s Sage meeting reportedly say that the implementation of measures equivalent to Step One or Step Two of the roadmap in England “could substantially reduce the peak in hospital admissions and infections compared with plan B alone”.

Step One and Two of the roadmap for easing lockdown banned social contact and indoor hospitality.

“The timing of such measures is crucial,” said the Sage minutes. “Delaying until 2022 would greatly reduce the effectiveness of such interventions and make it less likely that these would prevent considerable pressure on health and care settings.”

The Department for Health and Social Care has been contacted for comment.

On Friday, the UK reported an additional 93,045 cases and 111 deaths. However, 26.3 million adults aged 18 and over have now received their booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

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