Will lockdown easing be delayed on Monday?

Hospital bosses have urged Boris Johnson not to end lockdown until the NHS can cope with a rise in cases.

Hospital bosses warn not to end lockdown until the NHS can cope: The warning comes after the NHS has been deluged by admissions during the second lock down. NHS officials have given the Prime Minister criteria which they believe should be met before lock down is ended. Johnson is planning to announce his “roadmap” out of lockdown next Monday.

Chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said “We have had the debate about when and how quickly to lift restrictions several times before. Each time those arguing for a rapid relaxation were wrong and we had to reimpose restrictions, losing unnecessary lives and causing unnecessary long-term patient harm in the process. If this is to be the last national lock down, we have to learn the lessons from last year and take a cautious approach.”

Johnson is hoping that results from the vaccine rollout will give the country “grounds for confidence”. Nadhim Zahawi, minister for Covid vaccine deployment, said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “We’re beginning to see more and more data, but at the moment it’s far too early to begin to speculate.” Warning that with only the top four priority groups vaccinated so far there is scope for more deaths, saying “The evidence on Covid-19 cases, NHS capacity, progress with vaccinations and readiness to combat Covid-19 variants all show that it is much too early to start lifting restrictions.

Case numbers are still far too high.” He added that “The NHS is still at full stretch and trust leaders believe this will continue for at least another six to eight weeks.”

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