The recent increase in Covid-19 rates in the UK is concerning although, to some extent, an increase in rates was expected now that control measures have ended in England, with the other three UK countries also ending most control measures as well.
We are also seeing signs of increased NHS pressures with more presentations of people with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 in primary care and hospital admissions increasing. The number of NHS staff off work due to Covid-19 is also adding to NHS pressures.
A key message for the public is that vaccination is essential. Many people have not come forwards for a booster vaccine, particularly in London and other large cities. Three doses of vaccine are essential to reduce the risks of serious illness and death from Covid-19.
A second booster programme is also now starting for the most vulnerable people in our society: people aged 75 years and over this living in care home and people who are immunocompromised. The additional booster will provide these people with greater protection from serious illness and death.
I also advise people to continue to wear a mask (preferably a FFP2 mask) when in shops and on public transport. People should also continue to self-isolate if they test positive for Covid-19 to reduce the risks of infection to others.
Given that infection rates are increasing again, people who are clinically vulnerable through age or their medical history need to be cautious about entering places where there is a high-risk of infection (i.e. crowded, indoor venues with poor ventilation).
The government should also continue with PCR testing for people with symptoms of a possible Covid-19 infection and not scale back testing as it seems to be planning from April onwards. Unfortunately, there is no easy way out of the pandemic and testing along with good infection control measures remain essential.