Sunday, September 19

UK medical journals call for Christmas Covid rules to be revoked | World News

Plans to relax Covid restrictions on Christmas must be reversed or many lives are at risk of being lost, according to a rare joint publisher from two of the UK’s most eminent medical journals.

That call was shared by the head of the hospital’s doctors union, who described the government’s plans as “kamikaze.” Keir Starmer, the Labor leader, also urged Boris Johnson to reconsider the restrictions in a letter to the prime minister on Tuesday afternoon.

The British Medical Journal and the Health Service Journal said the government could no longer claim to protect the NHS if it goes ahead with its “hasty” plans to allow households to mingle indoors during Christmas.

“We believe that the government is about to make another big mistake that will cost many lives,” he says.

It warns that if current trends continue, there will be 19,000 Covid patients in English hospitals by New Year’s Eve, the same as at the peak of the first wave on April 12. Those numbers don’t take into account the impact of the Christmas mix between homes and the freedom to travel to see family.

The editorial says the additional Covid-19 patient burden is likely to be 40 times higher than at the beginning of the second wave.

Labor has asked the government to reconsider its decision to allow households to mingle for five days at Christmas, saying the consequences could be unthinkable. In a letter to the prime minister, Keir Starmer urged Boris Johnson to convene COBR and said Labor would support the government if the rules changed.

“This is a critical moment for our country. The failure of their tiered system to control the virus leaves us with a very small margin, “wrote Starmer. “Simply put, if you make the wrong decision now, the ramifications for our NHS and our economy in the new year could be dire.”

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The joint editorial reads: “The New Year is likely to see NHS trusts face a tough choice: be overwhelmed or stop most elective and non-urgent jobs,” the editorial warned. “Rather than lift restrictions on Christmas as currently planned, the UK should follow the more cautious examples of Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.”

The change in magazines, which cover both physicians and policies and management across the health service, will increase pressure on the government to reconsider plans to allow three households to mix from December 23 to 27. .

France It reopened nonessential stores this month, allowing holiday shopping to begin. But an increase in new infections since then means that while travel is allowed starting December 15, a nationwide curfew will begin from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m., lifting for December 24, but not on Christmas Day or New Years Eve. Bars and restaurants won’t reopen until January and private gatherings are limited to six adults.

GermanyThe “closing light”, with bars and restaurants closed since November, has not proven to be effective and the country has closed more, closing all essential bar shops (such as supermarkets and pharmacies), as well as hair and beauty salons. until at least 10 January. A maximum of five people from two households can meet, except on December 24, 25 and 26, when up to four close relatives from other households can be invited.

AustriaThe strict lockdown has ended and the country is carrying out a massive program of 10 million tests over the next fortnight with the goal of allowing more families to reunite during the holiday period. Christmas markets have been canceled.

ItalyThe prime minister has said that stricter restrictions will be needed during the holiday period, but these have yet to be announced. Interregional travel is already banned from December 20 to January 6, except for work, health or emergency reasons, and Italians cannot leave their home cities on Christmas Day, Saint Stephen or New Year’s Day. Midnight Mass on December 24 was brought forward so that worshipers can get home before curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. across the country.

Spain has called for people to be held accountable, but will allow movement between regions “for family reasons” between December 23 and January 6. Regional curfews, which run from 10 p.m. to midnight, will be delayed until 1.30 a.m. on December 24 and 31, when the meeting limit will be raised from six to ten, a measure that will also apply on the day of Christmas and New Years.

the Netherlands has imposed a harsh Christmas blockade, closing non-essential shops and businesses, gyms, museums, cinemas and theaters for five weeks until January 19. Bars and restaurants have been closed since mid-October. Schools are shifting to online learning and people are being advised to stay home. Households can invite up to two people a day, except from December 24 to 26, when the maximum limit is raised to three, excluding children under 13 years of age.

Belgium It has said that households can be in close contact with a single additional person during the Christmas period, although people living alone will be able to meet two others. Fireworks will be banned on New Years Eve to limit gatherings.

Poland It will allow people to spend Christmas only with their immediate family, with no more than five guests to be invited to each home until at least December 27, and travel outside of people’s home cities will be prohibited.

Brittany is relaxing restrictions on the “Christmas bubble” holidays that allow up to three households to mingle between December 23-27. Scientists, government advisers and medical experts have called for an urgent rethink, suggesting the move could result in a disastrous third wave in the New Year.

Jon henley Correspondent in Europe

“When the government came up with current plans to allow domestic mixing over Christmas, it assumed that the demand for Covid-19 on the NHS would be declining. But this is not the case, it is increasing, and the appearance of a new strain of the virus has introduced a greater potential danger, ”says the editorial.

“The government was too slow to introduce restrictions in the spring and again in the fall. Now it should reverse its hasty decision to allow domestic mixing and instead extend levels over the five-day Christmas period to cut the numbers in advance of a potential third wave. It should also review and strengthen the tiered structure, which has failed to suppress infection and hospitalization rates. “

The government has announced that up to three households will be able to mingle indoors and spend the night together from December 23 to 27 under relaxed coronavirus restrictions across the UK.

Can I go out to eat with my Christmas bubble?

No. In a blow to pubs and restaurants, and families who like to avoid piles of washing dishes, households separated in a Christmas bubble will not be able to meet in places of hospitality. However, members of a Christmas bubble can gather at home, in places of worship, and in outdoor public places, including gardens. You can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules of the level you are staying at. If you live in a level 3 area in England, pubs and restaurants will be closed.

Is there a limit to the number of people that can come together as part of a bubble?

There is no maximum size for a Christmas bubble, so you don’t need to worry if you and the people you bond with live in large households.

If I’m already in a bubble with another household, do we count as one or two households for the new Christmas rules?

By the rules, a support bubble will count as a home when Christmas bubbles form.

Can I join more than one Christmas bubble?

No, the bubbles have to be exclusive and cannot change during the five-day period, so choose your homes carefully. This means that it cannot be mixed with two households on Christmas Day and then two different households on December 26. However, children whose parents are separated will be able to move between two Christmas bubbles so they can celebrate with both parents.

Do I need to socially distance myself from the people in my Christmas bubble?

The members of the bubble will not be forced to socially distance themselves while together, so they can hug or kiss under the mistletoe. However, people are advised to be careful if there are vulnerable people involved in their bubble.

What about nursing home residents?

In England some nursing home residents may be allowed to form a bubble with another household, according to the household and subject to individual risk assessments. In this case, social distancing should be maintained, with regular hand washing and ventilation to reduce risk. Nursing home residents should not form a three-home Christmas bubble at any time.

Can I travel to meet people in my Christmas bubble?

People will be able to travel between coronavirus levels and across the UK during the designated holiday period (December 23-27). Individuals will be able to travel to and from Northern Ireland for an additional day on either side of that period, to allow for the additional time required.

What if I live in a shared home?

In England, people living in shared households can split up and join separate Christmas bubbles without breaking the three-household rule. So a group of, say, four young people living together would be allowed to return to their four separate families for Christmas and then return to their shared home after the holiday period.

Jessica murray

The NHS is confident that the most pressured regional health systems are already having to cancel almost all elective and non-urgent care due to the resurgence of the virus, the editorial says. “Even if the NHS England manages to vaccinate all ‘at risk’ before Easter, this will not be in time to prevent hospitalization and death for many in the coming months,” he adds.

The BMJ and HSJ also criticize the NHS ‘test and trace and the government’s plan for mass testing with lateral flow testing. The tracking service, “which has almost nothing to do with the NHS, continues to waste money on failures. The same goes for mass testing of asymptomatic people using lateral flow tests that are not suitable for their purpose, ”the editorial says.

Dr Claudia Paoloni, president of the Hospital Specialists and Consultants Association (HSCA), backed the calls, noting that Germany has more beds and more staff than the NHS, but has announced a closure for Christmas.

“The failure of the UK to do the same will cause hospitals to buckle, massive cancellation of non-Covid jobs and propel us like zombies to an avoidable emergency,” he said. “If the government is again caught off guard by a new strain of Covid-19 spreading more rapidly, we risk a truly dire winter for patients and hospital staff.”

Paoloni said his comments are not alarmist, but are based on cold and harsh reality. “Inaction will mean that patients die unnecessarily and thousands of critical cases will go untreated. The government must act now, urgently, to reverse these kamikaze plans. “

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