Oct. 20 (UPI) — British health officials called on the government late Tuesday to immediately reintroduce COVID-19 mitigating measures to avoid “stumbling into winter crisis.”
The NHS Confederation, which represents healthcare organizations nationwide, said in a statement that Britain is experiencing “worrying” increases in COVID-19 cases in hospitals as medical professionals are close to burnout.
To prevent a crisis this winter, the organization asked the government to enact its so-called “Plan B,” which is part of its winter strategy unveiled last month.
According to Britain’s Department of Health and Social Care, Plan B — which prioritizes measures to help control transmission of the virus — will be initiated if data show the health system is likely to come under “unsustainable pressure.”
Some of the measures include mandatory mask-wearing and COVID-19 certification, and the confederation said the measures should be put in place “sooner than later so that if cases of coronavirus still rise to worrying levels, the government can then introduce tougher measures, if needed.”
“The government should not wait for COVID infections to rocket and for NHS pressures to be sky high before the panic alarm is sounded,” said NHS Confederation CEO Matthew Taylor.
The confederation is also asking the public to get vaccinated, show up to scheduled health appointments on time, use front-line services and volunteer.
“The NHS is preparing for what could be the most challenging winter on record and it will do everything it can to make sure its services are not disrupted but these outside pressures are not solely within its gift to influence,” Taylor said.
“There is a crucial opportunity for the public to pull together and show extra support for the NHS by behaving in ways that will keep themselves and others safe and also safeguard stretched front-line services for those most in need.”
There have been tens of thousands of new COVID-19 cases in Britain over the last several days.
According Johns Hopkins University, Britain has seen more than 8.5 million cases since the start of the pandemic and more than 139,000 deaths. The university data show that Britain gained more than 1 million new cases in the past 28 days, more than any country after the United States.