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Wales Online
Wales Online
Neil Shaw

Covid restrictions may have to come back, warns England health minister

Covid restrictions may have to come back if the situation across the UK continues to get worse, an England health minister has said. Infection rates have risen to around 325,000 new cases a day - and rising hospitalisations could put more pressure on the NHS.

The number of people with Covid is estimated to have jumped 18% last week to 2.7 million. There are 13,386 people in hospital with Covid in England.

The highest the number reached during the pandemic was 16,600. Experts say BA.5, a subvariant of Omicron, is rapidly becoming the dominant strain in the UK.

It can reinfect people just four weeks after a previous infection. The NHS is battling a huge backlog caused by the cancellation of routine procedures during the pandemic.

Speaking in the House of Lords, Labour peer Lord Hunt of Kings Heath asked health minister Lord Kamall: “He said earlier that the incident rise is now leading to increased hospitalisations. What impact is that now having on the backlog?”

Lord Kamall replied: “I asked this very same question when I had the meeting with the UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency) officials earlier on. They are still focusing on the backlog. If it gets to a point where it is affecting the backlog then clearly measures may well have to be introduced."

ITV news reports the minister said: “We continue to see Covid-19 case rates and hospitalisations rising in all age groups, with the largest increases in hospitalisations and ICU admissions in those aged 75 and older.

"The largest proportion of those hospitalised are for reasons other than Covid, however Covid is identified due to the increasing case rates in the community and the high rate of testing in hospital, including among those with no respiratory systems. Current data does not point to cases becoming more severe.”

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