Hospital admissions are rising rapidly in northern England, NHS England National Medical Director Stephen Powis warned on Monday, saying that the coronavirus infection rate there could outstrip the first wave.

The infection rate has begun to grow nationwide, Powis said during a Downing Street briefing, commenting on the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak.

It is clear that hospital admissions are rising fastest in those areas of the country where infection rates are highest, particularly the north west. In the over-65s – particularly the over-85s – we are seeing steep rises in the numbers of people being admitted to hospital. So the claim that the elderly can somehow be fenced off from risk is wishful thinking.

Powis recommended washing hands, wearing masks and keeping an appropriate distance. Test and trace would be a second line of defense, he said, though he added that “we are now having to rely on hospital care.”
Nightingale Hospitals in Manchester, Sunderland and Harrogate have been told to prepare for more patients. All NHS hospital staff will now be tested regularly to keep staff and patients in hospitals “as safe as possible.”

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Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Jonathan Van-Tam warned the virus is spreading quickly among younger people nationwide, who are then passing it to the over-60s. “This is again of significant concern… because of course the elderly suffer a much worse course with Covid-19, they are admitted to hospital for longer periods, and they are more difficult to save,” the expert said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to unveil the government’s ‘traffic light’ coronavirus lockdown system on Monday. The tiered system will define areas as medium, high, or very high risk, and restrictions will be imposed based on this.

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