HOSPITAL admissions will be at a “critical stage” within TEN DAYS and “we must do all we can” to stop them being overwhelmed, a health minister warned today.
Nadine Dorries set out a stark message that more national measures were coming for the country – as Boris Johnson mulls the details of plunging parts of the North of England into another lockdown.
Bars in Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle are expected to be ordered to shut their doors from Monday after cases there spiralled to be the worst in the country.
But already leaders have hit back at the proposed plans – saying they haven’t been consulted and any new measures will damage businesses even further.
Ms Dorries, who was one of the first to contract the virus in Westminster back in March, hit back at the criticism today: “Those who now claim that further measures are not needed, will in about ten days from now, when hospital admissions are at a critical stage argue that we didn’t do enough.
“We must do all we can to prevent our ICUs #NHS from becoming overwhelmed #COVID19.”
It came as:
- Britain is on the verge of entering more restrictions to get a grip on the virus – with pubs and restaurants set to shut in parts of the country from Monday
- Vaccine trials are going well and Jeremy Hunt expected them to be ready before Christmas
- Nicola Sturgeon announced an effective booze ban for Scotland for 16 days – and tighter curfew measures for hospitality
Yet ministers want to try and keep them local for as long as possible – as the gap between the North and South of England remains stark.
Resentment has been brewing over a clear North-South divide between parts of the country with soaring rates, and others with lower numbers.
However, a minister admitted today that lockdown measures have not had “the impact we would have liked to have seen”.
Robert Jenrick insisted that “the measures do work” and that if they hadn’t have been put in place, the rate of infection would have been even higher than it is now.
He told Sky: “We know that, and we understand that, in some of the places we imposed local restrictions, we haven’t yet seen the impact we would have liked to have seen.
“We understand that’s that’s extremely frustrating to people in these areas.”
He was unable to confirm what measures would be put in place next week, if any.
Yesterday Boris Johnson was confronted by Labour boss Sir Keir Starmer about the stark facts.
Sir Keir stormed: “Today is 100 days since the first local restrictions were brought in.
“20 local areas have been under restrictions for two months, in 19 of those infection rates have gone up.
“It’s obvious something has gone wrong here.”
And Boris intends to unveil his simplified three-tier local lockdown code next week.
In plans signed off at a ministerial “gold command” meeting last night, Tier 1 will see current social distancing measures, the “rule of six” and a pub curfew of 10pm enforced.
Areas in Tier 2 will have the same restrictions plus a ban on households mixing.
Vast swathes of the virus-hit North West and North East would automatically fall under Tier 3, in which pubs, restaurants and other hospitality businesses will be shut.
People will not be able to mix households — except those with exemptions — and will have to abide by the national social distancing laws, such as wearing face masks.
Ministers are still working out other details, such as whether leisure centres and hairdressers stay open or shut.