UK Covid news: minister confirms restrictions being reviewed amid concerns people mixing too much | Politics
Keir Starmer’s speech and Q&A – Summary and analysis
Hospitals in Northern Ireland have narrowly averted declaring a major incident after off-duty staff responded to an appeal to report for work.
Last weekend was the busiest 48 hours for the region’s hospitals since the pandemic began and the pressure is expected to intensify, with all six health trusts warning that the number of Covid patients could double by the third week of January.
“This is not a simple matter of putting up more beds. We need the staff to care for the increased number of patients,” they said in a statement. “Pre-existing staffing pressures and staff absence because of Covid, and other reasons, mean that those staff simply aren’t there.”
A quarter of hospital patients have Covid-19, a proportion that is predicted to rise to a half. Hospitals are at or near full capacity and some are cancelling cancer operations.
Hospitals in the Republic of Ireland, where coronavirus infections have exploded since Christmas, are also under severe strain.
One estimates suggests the number of Covid-linked deaths could exceed 100 per day, far higher than the peak of the first wave last spring.
Jacqueline Corney, a social care worker from north Somerset, was among the first to receive her jab at the mass vaccination centre in Bristol.
Corney, 56, who had the Oxford jab at the Ashton Gate sports stadium, said:
I feel privileged to be on the list to get it. I’m really happy and I think everyone should get it when they’re asked.
It went fine. There are lots of people in there and they all know what they are doing. It was a case of going in, they ask questions about allergies. Then you go in for your jab. It’s all wonderful. I’m over the moon. I work with people with special needs so I’m quite high on the list.