The NHS Confederation is urging the government to maintain its cautious approach to lifting lockdown as the more transmissible Brazilian variant found in the UK becomes a cause for concern.
According to the latest Covid-19 mortality figures, published by the Office for National Statistics, there were 4,079 Covid-related deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending February 9, a decrease of 1,612 deaths compared with the week before.
This accounted for 30% of all deaths in England and Wales, compared with 37% the week before. However, the number of of deaths registered was still 19% above the five-year average.
Responding to the figures Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said: ‘The continuing decline in deaths from Covid-19 is reassuring, and is testament to the determination and commitment of everyone contributing to the Covid-19 response across the NHS, and of course, of the public taking actions that help reduce the spread of the virus.
‘We must ensure this downward trend continues, and remain cautious, especially as schools are reopened next week and restrictions are eased over the coming months.
‘There are now under 15,000 patients in hospital with COVID-19 across the UK, down from a peak of more than 39,000 in January, and although more than 20m people have now received their first vaccine dose, the NHS is still under pressure.
‘We cannot afford to lose steam and would urge the government to maintain its cautious approach, especially as some local authority areas report slight increases in cases, and as the more transmissible Brazilian variant found in the UK is a cause for concern.’
‘As we look ahead and await the Chancellor’s Budget announcement, the NHS will need significant investment to help it recover services, alongside managing the ongoing pressures of Covid-19, which will continue for some time to come.’
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