Covid: Millions More Prepare For Level 4 Rules As Coronavirus Cases Rise

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More people in England will be plunged into the tightest coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday as infections rise across the country.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to announce a wide extension of the Level 4 rules in a statement to the Commons this afternoon.

The government has been forced to act to facilitate the spread of the virus in hospitals across England.

Health workers have warned of increasing pressure on services due to the number of patients with Covid-19, which peaked during the pandemic.

More than 50,000 new cases were reported Tuesday, a new record, as well as 414 deaths.

Local authorities in Essex have declared a ‘major incident’ as the number of coronavirus cases threatens to overwhelm county health services.

Meanwhile, ambulances were seen lining up outside hospitals, including the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and Queen’s Hospital in Romford, both in east London, and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on Tuesday morning, and a young doctor in the capital said his hospital was “aggressively overwhelmed” by Covid-19 patients.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson chaired a meeting of the government’s Covid-19 operations committee on Tuesday evening, where changes to the tier system were discussed.

With case rates on the rise in all parts of England, as well as the number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals, any examination will likely involve areas rising one level rather than falling.

Areas that may be moved from level 3 to level 4 due to the increased case rate include parts of the East Midlands, such as Northamptonshire and Leicestershire, as well as all areas of the West Midlands metropolitan county.

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A woman crosses a quiet Millennium Bridge in London. Prime Minister Boris Johnson canceled Christmas.

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A woman crosses a quiet Millennium Bridge in London. Prime Minister Boris Johnson canceled Christmas.

/ PA)

Hartlepool in the north-east of England, as well as a handful of areas in Lancashire – Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Pendle and Ribble Valley – could also be upgraded from level 3 to 4.

The Times also reported that ministers are also considering imposing the country’s toughest measures on parts of southwestern and Cumbria.

Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS suppliers, warned that “options are narrowing” and moving areas to the highest level is necessary.

“The pressures on the NHS in parts of the country are increasing at an unsustainable rate,” she said.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson chaired a meeting of the government’s Covid-19 operations committee on Tuesday evening, where changes to the tier system were discussed.

/ PA)

“Fortunately, trusts in other areas have helped. But with the virus spreading rapidly along with increasing winter pressures, the options are narrowing.

“We urgently need to anticipate the epidemic. The Covid-19 level exam offers an opportunity to do so.

“It will require tough decisions, bringing millions more to the highest level.

“The government must act boldly, quickly and clearly to stem the threat of Covid-19.”

NHS England figures showed there were 21,787 patients in NHS hospitals in England at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, up from 20,426 on Monday and 18,974 at the first wave peak on April 12.

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Five of the seven NHS regions in England are currently reporting record numbers of Covid-19 hospital patients: East England, London, Midlands, South East England and South West England .

The other two regions, the North East and North West of England, remain below peak levels set in mid-November.

Meanwhile, the number of other laboratory-confirmed cases recorded in a single day in the UK hit a new high on Tuesday, rising above 50,000 for the first time, to 53,135.

It is not possible to make direct comparisons with the level of infection during the first wave of the virus, as mass testing was only introduced in the UK in May, but it has been estimated that there could have been as many as 100,000 cases per day at the peak in late March and early April.

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The government said another 414 people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, bringing the UK total to 71,567.

A senior doctor said some trusts in London and the South East are considering setting up tents outside hospitals – something normally reserved for sudden events such as terrorist attacks or industrial disasters – to triage patients .

During the first wave, the number of patients in London peaked at 5,201 on April 9.

Dr Susan Hopkins, senior medical adviser for Public Health England, said ‘unprecedented levels’ of Covid-19 infection in the UK were ‘extremely worrying’.

More than six million people in the east and south-east of England were subject to the highest level of restrictions on Saturday, meaning 24 million – 43% of the population – are now affected.

Lockdown measures are also in place in the other three home countries, after mainland Scotland entered Level 4 restrictions from Saturday for three weeks, and a similar stay-at-home order is in place in Wales.

Northern Ireland has also entered a new six-week lockdown, and week one measures are the most difficult yet, with a form of curfew in effect from 8 p.m. with stores closed to from this time and all indoor and outdoor gatherings prohibited until 6 a.m.

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