Bloomberg – The United Kingdom is testing various strategies to limit the impact of record Covid-19 cases on healthcare and other sectors, while trying to stick to its promise to avoid further lockdown.
Among the most recent measures, Boris Johnson’s government is developing contingency plans To help companies and supply chains avoid disruptions from increased employee absenteeism, the Financial Times reports.
He asked private companies to put plans to the test in the worst case scenario, with an increase of up to 25% in sick leave, according to the newspaper.
Covid-related absences among hospital staff rose by nearly two-thirds between December 26 and December 31The New York Times reported Sunday, citing figures from the National Health Service.
Regionally, the situation is worse, with part of a hospital in London forced to close because half of the nursing staff were on sick leave, the newspaper reported. Health services staff have also had difficulty accessing Covid tests.
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Meanwhile, Education Minister Nadim Zahawi told the Sunday Telegraph that Secondary school students in England will be directed to reuse face masks in classrooms where the omicron variant is being rolled out.
In doing so, the country will join the measures in place in Scotland and Wales. The masking scheme in England’s schools is currently expected to end on January 26, when the anti-virus measures known as Plan B will come into effect.
More than 162,000 positive tests for Covid-19 were taken in England on Saturday, about four times the daily level in early December, extending a series of all-time highs related to the highly contagious omicron variant.
London was the first focus of the Omicron strain in the United Kingdom, and although cases there appear to have stabilized, It is increasing dramatically in other regionsSuch as Northern Ireland, northwest England and much of Scotland.
The UK’s Health Security Agency noted in a blog post that the rules for easing self-isolation and the ability to return to work after five days instead of the current seven. It would make the situation worse. Their model showed that up to a third of people would still be contagious six days after a positive test.
British Health Minister Sajid Javid wrote in the Daily Mail on Saturday that “New restrictions on freedom should be strictly a last resort,” citing the “huge health, social and economic costs of incarceration.”
While hospital admissions in the UK are on the rise, they are well below the peak of last winter, a trend that has been attributed to the country’s high vaccination rate and robust booster programme.
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Chris Hobson, CEO of NHS Providers, said in a lengthy tweet on Twitter on Saturday that “There are currently far fewer seriously ill older adults who require critical care.” compared to last year. Deaths from Covid were stable at a fraction of the peak in early 2021.
In a December study, the HSA estimated that omicron, although more contagious than previous strains, appeared to be less dangerous. An individual with Omicron is up to 70% less likely to be hospitalized, the agency said.
However, Hobson said the NHS is “under different, and possibly greater, pressure” than last year, due to the massive backlog of non-Covid patients.
NHS providers represent workers in hospitals, ambulances and mental health services for the health services.