Sunday, January 17, 2021 | ePaper

UK entering 'worst point' of pandemic, top health official warns, as cases rise and bodies pile up

  • Print


A patient arrives by ambulance at the Royal London hospital in London, England.

CNN :
The United Kingdom is entering its most challenging weeks since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, a top official said Monday, as hospitals face being overrun and morgues fill up.
"We're now at the worst point of this epidemic for the UK. In the future we will have the vaccine, but the numbers at the moment are higher than they were in the previous peak - by some distance," England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty told the BBC, adding that he expects the next few weeks to be the "most dangerous time."
The country, which has already suffered more deaths as a result of the disease than any European nation and recently became the fifth nation on earth to reach the grim milestone of three million cases, is on the verge of seeing its hospitals overwhelmed.
Whitty told the BBC on Monday that there were currently more than 30,000 patients in hospital, compared to 18,000 during the first peak of the virus in the UK in April.
"We're now at a situation where in the UK as a whole, around one in 50 people is infected, and in London it's around 1 in 30," Whitty said. "There is a very high chance that if you meet someone unnecessarily, they will have Covid."
His warning comes with the country barely a week into its third national lockdown. But fears are growing that Britons are increasingly giving up on complying with the rules, as case numbers continue to surge despite the extreme measures.
Whitty stressed that minimizing contact with others will stop the situation from getting worse.
"Every single unnecessary contact any of us have is a potential link in a chain of transmission that will lead eventually to a vulnerable person," he told the BBC. "So, the absolute key is for all of us to think do we really need to have this contact?"
Whitty's intervention comes as the number of daily deaths in the UK remain very high, a point grimly illustrated by the fact that in one county in southern England, bodies are being stored at a temporary facility as morgues there are at capacity.
The temporary facility in Surrey, south of London, can hold an extra 800 bodies, on top of the 600 that can be held in morgues.

More News For this Category

Museveni heads for election win, rival alleges fraud

Museveni heads for election win, rival alleges fraud

Reuters :Long-time leader Yoweri Museveni was heading for a resounding win in Uganda's presidential election with nearly all votes counted on Saturday, but his main rival Bobi Wine alleged

US troop levels cut to 2,500 each in Afghanistan and Iraq, lowest mark in two decades

US troop levels cut to 2,500 each in Afghanistan and Iraq, lowest mark in two decades

AFP :The US military has cut troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq to 2,500 each, their lowest levels in the nearly two decades since the wars began, the Pentagon

South African scientists discover new chemicals that kill malaria parasite

Reuters :South African scientists have discovered chemical compounds that could potentially be used for a new line of drugs to treat malaria and even kill the parasite in its

UN rights body picks Fiji’s first ever vote

AFP :The UN Human Rights Council elected Fiji's ambassador as its 2021 president in an unprecedented secret ballot after a diplomatic stand-off blocked the usual consensus decision.Fiji's ambassador in

Amid vaccine rollout, Global Covid-19 death toll tops 2 m

Amid vaccine rollout, Global Covid-19 death toll tops 2 m

Reuters :The worldwide coronavirus death toll surpassed 2 million on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, as nations around the world are trying to procure multiple vaccines and detect

Trump administration takes final swipes at China and its companies

Trump administration takes final swipes at China and its companies

Reuters :The Trump administration in its waning days took another swipe at China and its biggest firms on Thursday, imposing sanctions on officials and companies for alleged misdeeds in

Erdogan receives Covid-19 vaccine

Erdogan receives Covid-19 vaccine

Reuters, Ankara :Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan received his COVID-19 vaccine in front of TV cameras on Thursday, a move which a spokesman for his AK Party said aimed to

India's protesting farmers, govt hold ninth round of talks

India's protesting farmers, govt hold ninth round of talks

Al Jazeera  :Leaders of Indian farmers' unions have held yet another another round of talks with the government in New Delhi in their latest bid to settle a dispute

Navalny faces arrest on return, Russian prison service warns

Navalny faces arrest on return, Russian prison service warns

Al Jazeera  :Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny faces immediate arrest once he returns to Russia, the country's prison service has warned, claiming it was "obliged" to detain him.Navalny, who has

Abortion becomes legal in Argentina as Chile starts a debate

Abortion becomes legal in Argentina as Chile starts a debate

AFP :Argentina on Thursday became one of just a handful of Latin American countries to allow elective abortion, as neighbouring Chile initiated its own debate on decriminalizing a procedure