A medical expert has warned that more Covid restrictions may be needed and urged the public to ease their social relationships.
The UK Health Security Agency’s lead medical adviser believes a large wave of coronavirus is now ‘inevitable’ in the UK, as the Omicron variant continues to spread rapidly.
Dr Susan Hopkins admitted she was worried the NHS could be overwhelmed but said more data was urgently needed before the full picture became clear.
It came as a Government Minister confirmed on Sunday morning that infected people are currently in hospital – but given the gap between infection and serious disease, it’s too early to say whether Omicron is as deadly as other strains.
However, it is becoming increasingly clear that this variant is more infectious.
Dr Hopkins told BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show: ‘I think the restrictions the Government has announced are justified.
‘I think we may need to go beyond them.
‘But we will need to carefully monitor what happens with the hospitalizations.’
She added that the Government had ‘very difficult’ decisions ahead.
The new measures it has brought, including getting people to wear masks again, are unlikely to have made any difference in stopping the spread – with Confirmed infections increased significantly this week.
With a supposed doubling time of two to three days, forecasts suggest UK could see more than a million cases daily after Christmas.
Dr Hopkins added: ‘It is inevitable that we will have to see a large wave of infections. What we’re not clear on, and we’re basically making sure people go out and get vaccinated, is how much of an impact that will have on hospitals.
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‘I think we’re going to have to reduce social ties as much as we can, that’s the work-from-home guideline.
‘I think we have to use a lateral flow generator if we go out and see people or we have to go to work.’
The government has insisted that Christmas parties can go ahead – but is asking people to work from home if they can.
Amid growing concern about exhausted staff in the under-stressed NHS, Dr Hopkins was asked if she was worried a new wave of infections could overwhelm the health service.
She said: ‘We worry and we are right to worry because we don’t have enough data to narrow those predictions and models down to the best level of detail yet and it takes time to figure out. do that.
‘I still think it will be another two weeks before it is clear to us whether the severity that South Africa has reported in some cases, but not all, is reflected here.
‘We have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. And I think our task is to highlight that this is a big wave. It’s coming straight at us. If we see even half the severity that we have seen with Delta then we are facing a very large number of hospitalizations and deaths. ‘
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https://metro.co.uk/2021/12/12/uk-covid-public-told-to-cut-contacts-as-fears-of-restrictions-grow-15757813/?ITO=metro-trending UK Covid: Public asks to cut off contact over fears of increased restrictions