Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association Council, said: “The Westminster government said it would enact ‘Plan B’ to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed; as doctors working on the frontline, we can categorically say that time is now. By the health secretary’s own admission we could soon see 100,000 cases a day and we now have the same number of weekly covid deaths as we had during March, when the country was in lockdown. It is therefore incredibly concerning that he is not willing to take immediate action to save lives and to protect the NHS.
“It is wilfully negligent of the Westminster government not to be taking any further action to reduce the spread of infection, such as mandatory mask wearing, physical distancing and ventilation requirements in high-risk settings, particularly indoor crowded spaces,” Nagpaul added. “These are measures that are the norm in many other nations.”
Other coronavirus news
The UK government has agreed deals with pharmaceutical companies to supply two new antiviral treatments for covid-19, subject to approval by the UK medicines regulator. The drugs would be aimed at those most at risk from the virus, including the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, either as treatments for infected people or to prevent infection in people exposed to the virus. The Department of Health and Social Care said it has secured 480,000 courses of Molnupiravir, made by Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD), and 250,000 courses of Pfizer’s PF-07321332/ritonavir. Molnupiravir has been shown in clinical trials to reduce the risk of hospital admission or death for at-risk adults with mild to moderate covid-19 by 50 per cent, while Pfizer’s antiviral is at the beginning of its phase three trials.
The Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine is highly effective at preventing infection and illness from the delta variant among adolescents, according to data from Israel. The study included data on 94,354 young people aged 12 to 18 who had been given the vaccine and the same number of unvaccinated participants. The vaccine was estimated to be 90 per cent effective against covid-19 infection and 93 per cent effective against symptomatic covid-19 on days 7 to 21 after the second dose.
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