Bring Back Facemasks and Social Distancing
Bring back Facemasks and Social Distancing; says NHS leader Chis Hopson
More than 70,000 NHS staff are off sick, while almost 16,000 patients are in hospital with Covid-19.
People should be encouraged to socially distance and wear facemasks to protect the health service, a senior NHS leader has said.
Chris Hopson, cheif executive of NHS Providers, is urging ministers to discuss "sensible precautions" that the public can take to help reduce pressure on the health service. "There is concern across the NHS that the government doesn't seem to want to talk about the Coronavirus anymore," Hopson said. "But we think we need a proper grown-up national debate about what living with Covid actually means." He said pretending that the Coronavirus doesn't exist anymore and that nobody needs to take precautions" is one of the reasons for the current prevalence of infection. Boris Johnson announced the end of all legal Covid restrictions in England in February, saying: "Let us learn to live with this virus and continue protecting ourselves and others without restrictions on our freedoms."
Hopson said that the debate on the Covid curbs should be supported by Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief Scientific adviser, adding: "Nobody is arguing we should go back to draconian lockdown restrictions, but this is not all or nothing.
There's an intermediary point which is where most other European nations are, which is their political leaders are explaining what the level of risks is, and they're basically saying therefore you need to think carefully about do you want to wear a mask in a public place ? Do you want to ensure that if you are inside with people you don't normally mix with, there's proper ventilation? Do you want to maximise the amount of time that you spend outdoors meeting people outside rather than indoors?
Hopson fears that the government's failure to address some of the pandemic's challenges will make it harder to deal with new waves of the virus.
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