No10 rejects NHS leaders’ call for new Covid curbs despite warnings of ‘brutal Easter’

The NHS Confederation has urged ministers to back “mitigating actions” such as curbs on meeting indoors and masks in crowded spaces

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Dr Amir Khan warns covid rising in particular age group

Downing Street rejected calls for a rethink of the government’s Covid strategy, despite health chiefs warning hospitals faced a “brutal Easter as bad as any winter”.

The NHS Confederation, which represents organizations across the healthcare sector, has urged ministers to back restrictions on meeting indoors and masks in crowded spaces alongside a new public awareness drive.

It comes after Covid cases last week hit the highest since February 2021, with 20,331 new inpatients logged and a record one in 13 people estimated to have the virus in England.

Confederation boss Matthew Taylor sounded the alarm over staff shortages and hospitals’ capacity to cope and called for the government to reconsider the decision to scrap all curbs.

But the PM’s deputy spokeswoman told reporters on Monday there would be “no change to our guidance and our living with Covid plan still stands”.

Mr Taylor had said in an interview with the Times on Monday that No10 had “seemingly abandoned any interest in Covid whatsoever”.

It comes as other hospitals have issued joint warnings for people to stay away from emergency departments



He wants ministers to introduce a “public information campaign” in England to ask people to stay away from A&E unless they have an emergency.

Already overcrowded A&E rooms are suffering from staff shortages as three per cent of staff in the NHS have coronavirus.

Mr Taylor said: “NHS leaders report a clear disconnect between the Government’s Living with Covid plan and the realities at the NHS front line.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visiting a hospital in north London earlier this year



“We have a Government that seems to want to wash its hands of responsibility for what is occurring in plain sight up and down the country.

“No 10 has seemingly abandoned any interest in Covid whatsoever.”

The so-called coronavirus dashboard shows cases (and tests performed) decreasing, however hospitalizations and deaths are still rising though both statistics usually lag behind infections.

The huge rise in cases comes despite official tallies having plunged because of Boris Johnson’s decision to ax the £2billion-a-month mass-swabbing regime.

Asked if new measures were necessary, the PM’s deputy spokeswoman said: “Thanks to a combination of vaccination and treatment and our better understanding of the virus we are now able to manage it as we do with other respiratory infections, so that remains the case with our approach.

“But obviously we continue to monitor any changes in the behavior of the virus.”

Asked about the view that NHS leaders felt abandoned by the Government, the spokeswoman said: “We are incredibly grateful to NHS staff who worked flat out throughout the pandemic and continue to do so in the face of Covid backlogs.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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