British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said that the UK’s state-run hospitals will face “considerable pressure” in the coming weeks due to the steep rise in virus infections.
Speaking during a visit to a vaccine centre, Johnson said “the pressure on our NHS hospitals is going to be considerable in the course of the next couple of weeks and maybe more” as “Omicron continues to surge through the country”.
The UK saw record numbers of cases in the last days of 2021 though it has not released figures for the whole country this year.
The country is one of Europe’s worst affected with a death toll of nearly 149,000.
The prime minister said that he was aware of high levels of hospital staff absences due to COVID, adding: “we’re looking at what we can do to move people into those areas that are particularly badly affected”.
Around 50,000 NHS staff were absent from work Friday because they were ill or self-isolating due to COVID-19, The Sunday Times newspaper reported.
Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents hospitals in England, told Sky News that “the pressure on hospitals outside London is now growing” after the capital bore the brunt of virus cases earlier.
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