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05th Jul 2022

Fears surging covid cases could ruin summer holidays with return of tests and rules

Charlie Herbert

Covid cases could ruin summer

It comes as a number of NHS Trusts reintroduce mask-wearing

There are growing fears that rising covid rates in the UK could disrupt the summer holiday plans of many.

In particular, the concerns are that the soaring cases here could see other countries introduce measures for tourists coming from Britain.

Last week, there were 285,507 daily symptomatic cases in the UK, which was a 27 percent rise compared to the week before.

The latest wave is being driven by the omicron BA.5 variant which is now dominant in the country.

Good Morning Britain’s resident GP Dr Hilary Jones has warned that restrictions could return again and has advised people to take precautions, the Mirror reports.

Dr Jones said: “There are large numbers of cases in Italy at the moment.

“They could say: ‘Right you’re going to need a Covid pass, you’re going to need proof of vaccination or recent infection’ or, ‘You’re going to need a test before you travel.’

“I would say to people who are travelling – look at the foreign travel advice for that country, see if you need a test before you fly and see if your NHS Covid pass works.”

He added: “We’re still in a pandemic, but this is going to become endemic, we’re going to have to live with this virus.

“So while I don’t think we need mandatory precautions such as mask-wearing and other lockdowns, I think what we do want is hand sanitisation to be routine, and I think it’s sensible to give people the advice to wear a mask on a crowded tube train.”

Meanwhile, Lib Dem MP Layla Moran, who chairs Westminster’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on coronavirus, also fears rising infection rates may also affect holiday plans as European nations grow concerned at the spike in UK cases.

Airports are still experiencing staff shortages and strikes as well.

She said: “It is possible that holiday plans will be ruined due to rising Covid rates in the UK.

“Other countries could reintroduce restrictions on arrivals from Britain and transport companies, already in crisis from the Government’s mishandling of Brexit and industrial action, are likely to see an increase in staff shortages with more people off sick with the virus and Long Covid.”

In total, 2.3 million people are estimated to have had covid last week, a rise of 32 percent on the week before, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The new wave has prompted hospitals in the UK to reintroduce face masks and social distancing, with several NHS Trusts bringing back restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

This comes after the number of covid hospitalisations passed 10,000 for the first time since April.

In response to this, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trusts, Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust and North West Anglia NHS Trust have all reintroduced mask-wearing on their sites, the Evening Standard reports.

And Dr Lara Alloway, chief medical officer at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We have taken the hard decision to require that surgical masks be worn by all staff, visitors and patients. In addition we strongly encourage social distancing of at least one metre in our hospitals.

“These measures have been brought in due to a significant increase in the number of Covid-positive patients in our hospitals, very high rates in the community and increasing levels of staff sickness.”

Meanwhile, Phil Bolton, Chief Nurse for Sherwood Forest Hospitals, said: “At the time we cautiously stepped-down the requirement to wear a mask we said we’d keep transmission rates under constant review and reintroduce measures if necessary.

“As cases have risen, it’s vital that we take decisive action to protect our most vulnerable patients, visitors and colleagues to ensure we can keep vital services running for all those that need them over the coming weeks. We’d like to thank everyone for their continued support and ask everyone to wear a mask when asked to do so across our hospitals.”

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