Responding to health secretary Matt Hancock’s statement to the House of Commons, Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation said:
“The NHS has administered more than eight million second doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in England alone, and is continuing to make great progress giving the jab to as many people as possible. It has done so alongside treating 140,000 people with Covid-19 and 1.9 million people for non-COVID reasons in January and February, as well as continuing to care for and treat the 1.1 million people estimated to have long COVID.
“However, whilst we have seen transmission falling, as well as a reduction in deaths from the virus, we cannot be complacent. We do not yet know what impact the mutant strains from both South Africa and India will have, particularly combined with the further easing of restrictions across the UK, and this must be closely monitored in the coming weeks. At this pivotal moment in the pandemic, with the majority of cases of the mutant strains linked directly to international travel, we would urge the Government to act more quickly and decisively when introducing countries to the COVID travel ‘red-list’.”