Facing rising COVID cases, UK government resists calls for new restrictions ahead

Doctors and scientists have called for the U.K. government to reintroduce COVID restrictions ahead of bleak forecasts this winter.

10/24/2021 1:32:00 AM

Flanked by public health officials, the U.K. Health Secretary painted a bleak picture of the current state of the pandemic in Britain.

Doctors and scientists have called for the U.K. government to reintroduce COVID restrictions ahead of bleak forecasts this winter.

Andy Rain/EPA via ShutterstockA COVID-19 PCR test centre in London, Oct. 21, 2021."This time it genuinely does feel different," Siva Anandaciva, the chief analyst at the King's Fund, an independent health think tank, told ABC News."I think that's because there are a lot of familiar pressures that you always have ... you've got the steady ticking up of winter viruses."

MORE: 'Fortress Australia' cautiously moving away from COVID ZeroPart of the pressure, he said, is the resumption of ordinary care for the massive backlog of patients waiting to be seen in hospitals, that has built up since the pandemic began. 5.7 million people in the U.K., almost 10% of the population, are on waiting lists for planned routine care, and in a worst case scenario this number could rise up to 14 million, Anandaciva said.

"COVID's almost like an accelerant on a fire," he said."The NHS has always struggled over the winter, and these are pressures that are spread more wildly... It is a problem with COVID, but more fundamentally some of the demand for care coming back after a pause in services and also crucially some of the resourcing issues that have long plagued the NHS. Not having enough staff, not having enough resources." headtopics.com

Facing pressure this winter, the government has announced new funding for the NHS, but it could be years before the health service begins to function at pre-pandemic levels, according to Anandaciva.Spector was once critical of the government's approach for"underreacting, then overreacting" to the pandemic with successive lockdowns, but now says he now doesn't understand some of the inaction.

Read more: ABC News »

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