Croydon NHS chiefs offer assurance that they are more ready to handle a ‘second wave’ of the pandemic
The new measures apply across London. Under Tier 2, households are barred from mixing in pubs and restaurants.
The announcement came this morning after a government briefing with London MPs, and is a response to rapidly increasing infection rates in the capital.
Figures for last week showed the infection rate in Croydon had nearly quadrupled when compared to the start of October.
The Tory government move is the latest region-by-region measure, avoiding the national “circuit-breaker” called for earlier this week by Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour Party leader.
Other nations within the United Kingdom are applying stricter and more wide-ranging measures in their efforts to stop the second wave of coronavirus taking firm hold: Wales yesterday announced a ban on people from England in visiting the country for reasons other than work. In Northern Ireland, schools are to have a two-week half-term holiday in another form of “circuit-breaker” after a large number of positive cases had been reported since pupils returned to the classroom.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said there was “simply no other option” than a renewed lockdown across the capital.
“Nobody wants to see more restrictions but this is deemed to be necessary in order to protect Londoners,” he said. “We’ve got a difficult winter ahead.”
The new three-tier system sees every area of England classed as being on medium, high or very high alert.
The chief executive at Mayday Hospital has said that his staff are prepared for an increase in covid-19 cases.
At the height of the pandemic outbreak in March and April, Croydon’s largest hospital was one of the worst-hit in the country, at one point dealing with 250 coronavirus patients.
According to Matthew Kershaw, speaking at a public meeting yesterday, there are currently just 10 patients with covid-19 at the hospital, none of whom are currently in intensive care.
But figures from Public Health England suggest that the situation is already deteriorating quickly.
In PHE’s latest weekly report for Croydon, to Friday, October 11, the borough had a weekly case rate of 74 cases per 100,000. That was up from 20 per 100,000 cases reported on October 1.
At meetings of borough council leaders and the Mayor of London this week, it was decided that 100 cases per 100,000 population was the threshold when an area would need to apply the strictest lockdown measures, and that if half of London’s 32 boroughs reached that level then the whole capital would need to lockdown.
In his briefing at the Croydon Healthwatch annual meeting yesterday, Kershaw sought to provide assurance that Mayday and the NHS across Croydon was better-prepared to handle covid-19 than they perhaps were six months ago.
Of the recent rise in the number of positive cases, he said, “We are seeing a slight increase but it is from a very low base.” He said that compared to what was encountered in March and April, recent numbers are “relatively speaking, a very low number still”.
Kershaw said, “We have 10 patients in the hospital who have coronavirus diagnoses, none of those are in intensive care.
“We have had somebody in intensive care in recent days but they have recovered enough to be discharged, which is fantastic.
“That is one of the things I would reassure the public about, coronavirus can be a very serious condition and there’s still no vaccine, but we’ve learnt much more about how to manage patients with Covid.
“The numbers are relatively low and we hope that continues, but if it doesn’t as it has done in the north-west we are prepared and ready to be able to respond to that.
“The numbers will increase, that is the nature of the pandemic, but hopefully if everybody helps out in the community, following the guidance, that will help to minimise spread and reduce the number of people to need to have health care.”
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