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Essex declares ‘major incident’ as England faces wider lockdown on new coronavirus variant


A “major incident” has been declared in #Essex as cases continue to spike in the commuter belt region, after local officials said they feared the pandemic could overwhelm its facilities.

The #Essex #Resilience #Forum (ERF) said the number of patients being treated in hospitals for #Covid-19 had now surpassed the #April peak. The #Mid and #South #Essex NHS #Trust placed all three of its hospitals on critical alert on 29 #December.

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The region is in the country’s highest level of coronavirus restrictions, known as #Tier 4, along with #London and most of the #South-east of #England.

The ERF, which includes members of the local NHS, emergency services and authorities, said it was making the 30 #December announcement in response to “significant growing demand” for its hospitals. #It hopes the move will allow local leaders to seek additional government support.

#It comes as health secretary #Matt #Hancock is preparing to place more of the country under #Tier 4 restrictions in a bid to battle a new variant of coronavirus revealed earlier this month.

#In an announcement to MPs after 3pm on 30 #December, #Hancock is expected to keep #London under the toughest restrictions. #On 29 #December #England surpassed 53,000 daily positive cases of coronavirus, the highest recorded daily total since the pandemic began.

READ #Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine gets UK approval for immediate rollout as new variant takes hold

#Asked if the current tiered measures would be broadened, #Hancock told the BBC: “Yes, I’m going to set out the details of that to the #House of #Commons this afternoon.”

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#Prime #Minister #Boris #Johnson held a meeting with ministers on 29 #December to discuss the change in lockdown rules for the country, a #Downing #Street spokesperson said.

#Hancock also revealed that the vaccine developed by #AstraZeneca and #Oxford #University had been approved by the UK’s #Medicines and #Healthcare products #Regulatory #Agency (MHRA). #It will be rolled out from 4 #January, alongside the #Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was approved earlier this year.

“It is very good news for accelerating the vaccine rollout. #It brings forward the day we can get our lives back to normal,” he told #Sky #News.

“This new variant of virus is really tough to deal with… #But thankfully the cavalry have arrived in not one but two vaccines. #We need to get those into people’s arms just as fast as they can be produced.”

READ NHS chief warns health workers are ‘back in the eye of the storm’ as #Covid-19 cases surge

#To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email #Emily #Nicolle

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[ source link ]
https://www.fnlondon.com/articles/essex-declares-major-incident-as-england-faces-wider-lockdown-on-new-coronavirus-variant-20201230

##Essex #declares #major #incident ##England #faces #wider #lockdown #coronavirus #variant

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