Positive signs emerging but caution needed before restrictions are lifted

Commenting on the latest urgent and emergency care sitrep and test and trace figures.

18 February 2021

Responding to the latest urgent and emergency care sitrep and test and trace figures, Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said: “While there are positive signs we are heading in the right direction, with the number of cases and deaths coming down, they are still very high. These latest urgent and emergency care figures show the NHS continues to be under huge pressure, with 4,538 patients still in critical care, and more than 20,000 people in hospital with COVID-19.
“The latest test and trace figures also show a reassuring 29 per cent decline in new infections week-on-week, but findings from the latest REACT 1 study show prevalence remains high, with estimates suggesting about one in 200 people were infected with the virus in early February.
“With that in mind, it is absolutely imperative that lockdown measures are eased very cautiously. It’s important to remember NHS staff are exhausted and overstretched and will need time to regain their strength as they also tackle the backlog of other treatment. Any lifting of restrictions must be managed carefully to avoid inducing another wave of infections, which would be incredibly hard for the NHS – and for the whole population.”