More than 13,000 NHS hospital beds are now occupied by positive Covid patients as a Government minister says curbs could be put in place if the NHS backlog is threatened by Covid.
The latest NHS data shows beds occupied by Covid patients have risen from 10,658 the previous Monday.
Lord Kamal, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Innovation at the Department for Health and Social Care, said during an address to the House of Lords that if the situation “reaches a point where it affects the backlog then action may need to be put in place. ”
The latest official data shows an estimated 2.7 million people living in homes contracted Covid-19 in the last week, up 18 percent from 2.3 million the previous week.
Lord Kamal’s statements come as health authorities in Europe have recommended offering a second booster shot to those over 60 in response to the new “widespread wave”.
Last week LatestPageNews reported that staff absenteeism across NHS trusts was increasing amid rising infection rates in the community. Infection numbers prompted an entire NHS region to reintroduce mask-wearing in hospitals and GP surgeries.
Senior NHS workers told LatestPageNews Her hospitals were on the verge of having to cancel scheduled surgeries due to absenteeism last week.
Meanwhile, according to reports in the Health Service JournalNHS leaders could also now seek to water down their targets to help reduce the backlog of operations.
In an update Monday, the European Center for Disease Control recommended considering second booster shots for those aged 60 to 79 and those at high risk of serious illness.
dr Andrea Ammon, Director of the European Center for Disease Control, said: “We are currently seeing increasing reporting rates of Covid cases and an increasing trend in hospital and intensive care unit admissions and occupancy in several countries, driven mainly by the BA 5 sub-line powered by Omicron. ”
“This signals the start of a new widespread wave of Covid across the European Union. There are still too many people at risk of severe Covid infection that we need to protect as soon as possible. We must remind people of the importance of vaccination from the very first shot to the second booster shot. We have to start today.”
On Monday, pharma giant Moderna also reported that its new Omicron-specific vaccine booster showed better antibody responses to the current BA.4 and BA.5 variants, which are driving the latest Covid wave.
The report comes as the UK awaits a decision from the Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization on an autumn round of Covid-19 boosters.
Professor Beate Kampmann, Professor of Pediatric Infection & Immunity; and Director of the Vaccine Center, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “As the Omicron variants BA.4 and 5 now cause most Sars-CoV-2 infections in Europe and the USA, the development and approval of the variant is adapted Covid vaccines for boosters are well on their way. It was always a given that the first generation of these vaccines would require changes, but unfortunately we are always a step behind in virus development. We ultimately need to get to a place where models can predict what’s going to happen next so we can stay ahead of the curve.
“Who needs a refresher and when is also a moving target as we now face a mix of community immunity and personal protection brought on by vaccines or natural infections and most likely both.”