The UK is “back in the eye of the storm” following the discovery of the new more transmissible strain of the coronavirus which has resulted in a resurgence of new cases, as well record breaking hospitalisations, the National Health Service (NHS) chief said.
“Now again we are back in the eye of the storm with a second wave of coronavirus sweeping Europe and, indeed, this country,” Xinhua news agency quoted Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the NHS, as saying on Tuesday while visiting a vaccination centre.
“Many of us have lost family, friends, colleagues and — at a time of year when we would normally be celebrating — a lot of people are understandably feeling anxious, frustrated and tired,” he said.
Another 53,135 people in the UK have tested positive for Covid-19, marking the highest daily increase in coronavirus cases since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country, according to the official figures released on Tuesday.
The total number of coronavirus cases in the country now stands at 2,389,963.
Meanwhile, an additional 414 people have died within 28 days of a positive test, bringing the total number of fatalities to 71,675, the data showed.
However, the NHS chief noted a sense of hope as the UK continues to roll out vaccines, which he said could be offered to all vulnerable people across this country by late spring next year.
“That perhaps provides the biggest chink of hope for the year ahead,” he said.
Also on Tuesday, Samantha Batt-Rawden, president of the Doctors’ Association UK, said on Twitter that she and her colleagues are “at breaking point”.
“Today we learnt that we have more patients with Covid in hospital than ever before in England. This is not a drill. Please believe us,” she said.
The UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has urged all regions of England to be placed in highest Tier Four restrictions, which require residents in the areas to stay at home, with limited exemptions.
People are also urged to work from home when they can, and should not enter or leave those areas.
London and many other parts of England have already been under Tier Four restrictions.
For those in Tiers One, Two and Three, up to three households were allowed to meet only on Christmas Day, while in Tier Four, people cannot mix with anyone outside their own household, apart from support bubbles.