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Found 130 results
  1. Content Article
    This Office for National Statistics (ONS) report provides in-depth analysis of Winter Coronavirus Infection Study (Winter CIS) data looking at trends in self-reported symptoms of Covid-19 including ongoing symptoms and associated risk factors. Winter CIS was a joint study with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), carried out between November 2023 and March 2024 for England and Scotland. The study was structured as a longitudinal panel survey, with each participant sent a questionnaire and asked to take a lateral flow device test every four weeks for the detection of Covid-19.
  2. News Article
    Britain’s safety at work regulator refused to investigate reports from NHS trusts that 10 frontline staff had died as a result of catching Covid-19 during the pandemic. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) declined to look into at least 89 dangerous incidents that NHS trusts said involved healthcare workers being exposed to Covid, including 10 deaths. The stance taken by the HSE, which oversees workplace health and safety and can bring prosecutions, is disclosed in freedom of information requests by the Pharmaceutical Journal. It has prompted concern that the regulator is too strict in its definition of workplace harm. It found that 173 trusts in England submitted at least 6,007 reports about employees’ exposure to Covid-19 in the course of their duties to the HSE between 30 January 2020 and 11 March 2022, under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). They included 213 “dangerous occurrences”, which are incidents that have the potential to cause significant harm; 5,753 cases where a staff member had caught Covid-19; and 41 deaths among people who had been exposed to the disease at their workplace. However, the HSE refused to look into five Covid deaths reported under the RIDDOR scheme by the Yorkshire ambulance service (YAS) because of what it considered a lack of evidence. The regulator also decided not to look into the Covid deaths of five staff at University College London hospital acute trust, despite the trust’s belief they had caught it at work. “The HSE found that there was no reasonable evidence that the infection was contracted at work,” a trust spokesperson said. Shelly Asquith, the health, safety and wellbeing officer at the Trades Union Congress, said the HSE’s decisions and claimed lack of evidence was “really concerning”. It suggested a continued “element of denial about Covid being airborne and it not being possible to necessarily pinpoint where exactly somebody was exposed once it’s in the air”, she added. Read full story Source: Guardian, 26 May 2022
  3. News Article
    Cases of monkeypox are being investigated in European countries, including the UK as well as the US, Canada and Australia. Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, a member of the same family of viruses as smallpox, although it is much less severe and experts say chances of infection are low. It occurs mostly in remote parts of central and west African countries, near tropical rainforests. There are two main strains of virus - west African and central African. Two of the infected patients in the UK travelled from Nigeria, so it is likely that they are suffering from the West African strain of the virus, which is generally mild, but this is as yet unconfirmed. Another case was a healthcare worker who picked up the virus from one of the patients. More recent cases do not have any known links with each other, or any history of travel. It appears they caught it in the UK from spread in the community. The UKHSA says anyone with concerns that they could be infected should see a health professional, but make contact with the clinic or surgery ahead of a visit. Initial symptoms include fever, headaches, swellings, back pain, aching muscles and a general listlessness. Once the fever breaks a rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body, most commonly the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. The infection usually clears up on its own and lasts between 14 and 21 days. Experts say we are not on the brink of a national outbreak and, according to Public Health England, the risk to the public is low. Prof Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology, University of Nottingham, said: "The fact that only one of the 50 contacts of the initial monkeypox-infected patient has been infected shows how poorly infectious the virus is. "It is wrong to think that we are on the brink of a nationwide outbreak." Read full story Source: BBC News, 20 May 2022
  4. News Article
    Government policies on discharging untested patients from hospital to care homes in England at the start of the Covid pandemic have been ruled unlawful by the High Court. The ruling comes after two women took former Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Public Health England to court. Dr Cathy Gardner and Fay Harris said it had caused a "shocking death toll". Prime Minister Boris Johnson renewed his apologies for all those who lost loved ones during the pandemic. Dr Gardner and Ms Harris partially succeeded in claims against Mr Hancock and Public Health England. The women claimed key policies of discharging patients from hospitals into care homes were implemented with no testing and no suitable isolation arrangements in the homes. A barrister representing Dr Gardner and Ms Harris told the court at a hearing in March that more than 20,000 elderly or disabled care home residents died from Covid between March and June 2020 in England and Wales. Jason Coppel QC also said in a written case outline for the judicial review that the care home population was known to be "uniquely vulnerable" to Covid. "The government's failure to protect it, and positive steps taken by the government which introduced Covid-19 infection into care homes, represent one of the most egregious and devastating policy failures in the modern era," he added. Read full story Source: BBC News, 27 April 2022
  5. News Article
    A healthcare worker caught Covid on two separate occasions over the course of just 20 days, a new study has shown. It is believed to be the shortest recorded time between two infections since the start of the pandemic. Since the arrival of the highly infectious Omicron variant, reinfections have become far more prominent. The 31-year-old woman from Spain first became infected with Delta in December 2021 – 12 days after she had received her Covid booster vaccine. Lab analysis showed that she had initially been infected by the Delta variant, followed by Omicron. Her case, which is being presented to the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Portugal, is believed to represent the shortest recorded time between two separate infections. Dr Gemma Recio of the Institut Catala de la Salut in Spain, who is one of the study’s authors, said: “This case highlights the potential of the Omicron variant to evade the previous immunity acquired either from a natural infection with other variants or from vaccines". “In other words, people who have had Covid-19 cannot assume they are protected against reinfection, even if they have been fully vaccinated." Read full story Source: The Independent, 21 April 2022
  6. News Article
    A significant relaxation of infection control guidance has been announced in a bid to free up more capacity to tackle substantial waiting lists and demand for emergency care. New guidance issued jointly by the Department of Heath and Social Care, the UK Health Security Agency, NHS England and health bodies in the devolved nations, recommends the relaxation of isolation requirements for inpatients who either test positive for Covid-19 or are considered close contacts of people with the virus. The isolation period for inpatients with Covid-19 can now be reduced from 10 days to seven if they have two negative lateral flow tests. The tests must be taken on two consecutive days from day six of the isolation period onwards, and the patient must also “[show] clinical improvement”. A letter from NHSE released to trust chiefs, sent last Thursday, also recommends the “[return] of pre-pandemic physical distancing in all areas,” including emergency departments, ambulances and “all primary care, inpatient and outpatient settings.” It also recommends the returning to pre-pandemic cleaning procedures outside Covid-19 areas. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 19 April 2022
  7. News Article
    Overstretched hospitals are stopping routine Covid tests for new patients as “brutal” pressures mount on doctors and nurses, The Independent understands. On Monday there were 1,702 new Covid admissions to hospitals in England as of 9 April – with 16,442 positive patients occupying beds – the NHS leaders warn their ability to tackle the backlog in planned care is at risk. Despite pleas from NHS chiefs to measures such as mask-wearing back into force, ministers said there were no plans to change guidance. The Independent understands at least two major hospitals, in Newcastle and York, have dropped testing of all patients without symptoms in order to alleviate pressure on beds – raising fears that Covid could spread on unchecked wards. Other hospitals are also likely to do the same as bed pressures worsen. Sources have told The Independent some trusts have begun to drop “red” Covid only wards, while some are considering not separating patients in A&E. One expert, critical care doctor Tom Lawton, who analyses hospital-acquired infection data, said that stopping patient testing in hospitals was “worrying” and that the NHS would be putting “blinkers on” just as in-hospital infections were “as high as they’ve ever been”. Read full story Source: The Independent, 11 April 2022
  8. News Article
    Ministers will be left in the dark on Covid spikes just as case numbers reach unprecedented levels if a “world-beating” surveillance programme is scrapped, scientists have warned. The React-1 study, which played a crucial role in detecting and tracking the spread of the Alpha variant in December 2020 ahead of the second lockdown, has been stopped as part of the government's plan to cut its Covid costs. But in its last report, the study found 6.37% of the population was infected between 8 and 31 March – the highest figure since it began in May 2020. More worryingly, the scientists behind the research said the prevalence rate has also reached new highs for people aged 55 and over, at 8.31 per cent. The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) said dismantling the project while cases were at record levels damaged preparedness and put public health at risk. The spread of Covid within hospitals is also fuelling staff shortages, bed closures and delayed discharges in multiple regions of the country. This is coinciding with delays in ambulance handovers and response times, NHS sources say. Information seen by The Independent revealed hundreds of beds are currently out of use at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals trust due to Covid outbreaks. A senior clinician said the “hospital is coming apart at the seams” and that, across the northeast, even “high” performing emergency departments were “crashing” and “stacking ambulances outside of hospital”. Read full story Source: The Independent, 6 April 2022
  9. News Article
    Covid hospitalisations will continue to rise for at least two weeks, England’s government’s chief medical officer warned on Wednesday as Britain’s daily cases breached 100,000 for the second time this month. Professor Sir Chris Whitty said the country’s Covid crisis “is not over” and that new variants of the disease could arise at any time. He pointed to the latest data showing that the number of people with Covid in hospitals has been rising, and said this would likely continue for at least two weeks. The current rise in cases is “currently being driven by Omicron rather than new variants”, he told an audience at a Local Government Association conference, but added: “We need to keep a very close eye on this, because at any point new variants could emerge anywhere in the world, including the UK, obviously, as what happened with the Alpha variant.” Another 194 Covid deaths were reported on Wednesday, up 27% on last week. Prof Whitty said that death rates were fortunately still low but that hospitalisations meant there was still pressure on the NHS. Asked about the end of free testing for the public on 1 April, Sir Chris said it was a “trade-off between disparities, because the effects of free testing are probably going to be differential across society, and [there are] very substantial sums that are going into it, which otherwise would be going into other public health issues." However, he said that testing for staff within health and social care was “slightly different” as the risks are greater, and those who are in hospital or care homes are more vulnerable. His comments come on the second anniversary of the day the UK announced a national lockdown. Read full story Source: The Independent, 23 March 2022
  10. News Article
    Infection control rules in hospitals are ‘now disproportionate to the risks’ posed by covid and should be relaxed, some of the NHS’s most senior leaders have warned. The government rules – such as not allowing covid-positive staff to work, and separating out services for covid, non-covid and covid-contact patients – make a big dent in hospital capacity and slows down services. Glen Burley, who is chief executive of three Midlands trusts and involved in national-level discussions on elective matters, told HSJ: “Pretty much every pathway has a covid and non-covid route, which slows down flow and staff productivity. “There is a growing argument that these rules are now disproportionate to the risks. With covid cases in the community also rising now, we may have to question again the relative risks of continuing to isolate staff.” NHS Confederation director of policy Layla McCay told HSJ: “Healthcare leaders are concerned the current [IPC] measures are having a serious knock-on effect on capacity and that the measures in their current form are reducing efficiency and capacity within healthcare settings. “We need more clarity on if and how current measures can be safely adjusted so [the NHS] can further increase bed capacity and patient throughput, as well as the ability to transport patients more quickly and efficiently.” But NHS Providers, which has previously said relaxing the IPC guidance would not enable a “rapid” increase in the NHS’ capacity to tackle the elective care backlog and could pose significant “risks”, remains more cautious. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 21 March 2022
  11. News Article
    US health officials are monitoring an unusual situation in the UK, where COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations are simultaneously climbing due to the BA.2 subvariant, CNN reports. COVID-19 cases were up 52% in the UK last week compared with the week prior, and hospitalisations were up 18%t over the same period, according to the UK Coronavirus Dashboard. The seemingly in-tandem ascent of cases and hospitalisations is unusual, given that increases in COVID-19 cases preceded increases in hospitalisations by about 10 days to two weeks in previous waves. "So we're obviously keenly interested in what's going on with that," Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN. Dr Fauci said in conversation with his U.K. counterparts, they attribute the rising cases and hospitalisations to three things, listed in order of contribution: the BA.2 variant, which is more transmissible than the original omicron; the opening of society, with people socializing indoors without masks; and waning immunity from vaccination or prior infection. Hospitalisations in the U.K. raise questions, given that BA.2 doesn't appear to cause more severe disease. "The issue with hospitalization is a little bit more puzzling, because although the hospitalizations are going up, it is very clear their use of ICU beds has not increased," Dr. Fauci said. "So are the numbers of hospitalizations a real reflection of COVID cases, or is there a difficulty deciphering between people coming into the hospital with COVID or because of COVID?" Read full story Source: Becker Hospital Review, 16 March 2022
  12. News Article
    Some care homes have "no choice" but to allow workers who have Covid to deliver care, a public health official said. According to Public Health England cases are rising the fastest in Somerset. As a result, care homes in the county are struggling to safely staff their services and schools are seeing a rise in staff sickness. Somerset Council said ensuring vulnerable residents received care was "lower risk" than them being infected. Health officials advised care workers to continue working only if they wore PPE and felt well enough. Council public health consultant Alison Bell said: "In some cases, we have no choice but to have people who are testing positive delivering care to people in Somerset. "That risk is actually less than that person not receiving care." She said the Omicron variant was more transmissible and people were getting re-infected with it, some within a matter of weeks. Read full story Source: BBC News, 16 March 2022
  13. News Article
    Covid-19 is on the retreat across the American continents but it is too early for the region to let its guard down, warned the Pan American Health Organisation, the World Health Organization’s regional office for the Americas, on 9 March. Reported cases of Covid-19 fell by 26% in the past week and deaths by nearly 19%, as the omicron wave of infections tailed off. But ongoing transmission and future variants could expose the region’s public health priorities once more, said PAHO’s director, Carissa Etienne. A total of 2.6 million people have died from Covid-19 in the Americas, the highest number of any region of the world and almost half of the global total, despite being home to only 13% of its population. “This is a tragedy of enormous proportions, and its effects will be felt for years to come,” said Etienne on the second anniversary of the pandemic. Patchy vaccination coverage has left countries vulnerable to current and future variants of SARS-CoV-2. Around 248 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean are yet to receive a single dose of a covid vaccine, with vaccination rates particularly low in hard-to-reach rural areas. In the first two months of 2022 the Americas accounted for 63% of the world’s new cases. Despite a general fall in incidence across the region, new cases rose by 2.2% in the Caribbean, while Bolivia and Puerto Rico reported an increase in deaths in the past week. Michael Touchton, head of the University of Miami’s Covid-19 policy observatory for Latin America, said, “Latin America is perhaps the most vulnerable region in the world to the emergence of a new variant. Vaccine delays have a greater impact in Latin America due to concentrated urban populations, chronic disease burden, and low capacity health systems. Taken together, Latin America is likelier to fare worse than other similarly low and middle income regions.” Read full story Source: BMJ, 14 March 2022
  14. News Article
    A leading figure in the World Health Organisation Foundation has criticised the UK’s move to dismantle its Covid testing programme as the disease surges in other parts of the world. Mr Anil Soni, chief executive of the WHO Foundation, said in an interview with The Independent that maintaining surveillance over Covid-19 was “incredibly important” and the “dismantling of the testing infrastructure here strikes me as very worrying.” The WHO Foundation chief warned people were “looking the other way” from counties where there is low vaccine coverage to maintain the hope that Covid is over. He warned low vaccine coverage is a “petri dish” for future variants to breed and that the acute phase of the pandemic could not be over until this is addressed. When asked about the UK’s plans to end its NHS Test and Trace programme Mr Soni said: “I’m very concerned about it. “What we’ve seen is, it’s incredibly important to maintain surveillance, and countries in southern Africa should be applauded for detecting Omicron as quickly as they did. Those surveillance systems need to be in place around the world. “We also want to make sure that testing is widely available so that people, when they become infectious, can be aware of their status and keep others safe. For testing not to be available and for us to be moving too quickly to normalcy creates risk.” Mr Soni said the world’s position with Covid was “precarious” and highlighted the surge being seen in Hong Kong, where “health centres are at the verge of collapse, because of how many people are sick”. Read full story Source: The Independent, 10 March 2022
  15. News Article
    Senior doctors say the government’s “Living with Covid” plan will hamper the ability of the NHS to provide care. Michelle Drage, chief executive of the Londonwide Local Medical Committee, which represents the majority of practices in the city, has said the government’s changes may discourage vulnerable patients to seek care when they need it, while David Nicholl, a neurologist and spokesperson for Doctors’ Association UK, said it could exacerbate health inequalities. It comes as the legal requirement to isolate after testing positive is lifted from Thursday, while free Covid testing ends on 1 April. NHS England sent a letter to all healthcare providers confirming workers would have to continue with current rules and not come into work after testing positive. Staff were told they should continue to carrying out regular testing, and access this through national routes until 31 March, but were not given guidance on testing requirements beyond this. Dr Drage said the changes in isolation and testing rules could put off vulnerable patients. “We may well see people not being able to access the services they need to because they’re afraid to attend,” she said. “Then to make people pay for those tests for what looks like a fiver a pop, when the people that can least afford it and the people who can least afford to take time off... suggests to me we’re increasing the risk of inappropriate transmission.” “It’s a perfect storm that could be brewing that will have a further impact on the ability of patients to be properly cared for… It feels like, yet again, the government gambling with people’s health to sustain the economy.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 25 February 2022
  16. News Article
    An immunologist has warned the new strain of Covid-19 could be causing different symptoms – including one that emerges during the night. Omicron BA.5 is a highly-contagious subvariant prompting concern as it contributes to a fresh wave of infections across the globe, including the UK. Scientists have been finding differences with previous strains, including the ability to reinfect people within weeks of having Covid. “One extra symptom from BA.5 I saw this morning is night sweats,” Professor Luke O’Neill from Trinity College Dublin told an Irish radio station in mid-July. Read full story Source: The Independent (24 August 2022)
  17. News Article
    The ‘optimal layout’ for an isolation room to contain the spread of Covid has been created following tests at a London hospital. The room was designed by researchers at Imperial College London to reduce the risk of infection for health care staff as far as possible. Researchers used a state-of-the-art fluid model to simulate the transmission of the virus within an isolation room at the Royal Brompton Hospital in Chelsea, west London. They found that the area of highest risk of infection is above a patient’s bed at a height of 0.7 to two metres, where the highest concentration of Covid is found. After the virus is expelled from a patient’s mouth, the research team explained that it gets driven vertically by wind forces within the room. The research, published in the journal Physics of Fluids, is based on data collected from the room during a Covid patient’s stay. The work centred on the location of the room’s air extractor and filtration rates, the location of the bed, and the health and safety of the hospital staff working within the area. Read full story Source: The Independent, 8 February 2023
  18. News Article
    Free HIV tests that can be done at home are being offered this week to people in England. It is part of a government drive to improve diagnosis, which dropped off during the Covid pandemic. The kit is small enough to fit through the letterbox and arrives in plain packaging through the post. It gives a result within 15 minutes by testing a drop of blood from a finger prick. A "reactive" result means HIV is possible and a clinic check is needed. Support and help is available to arrange this. About 4,400 people in England are living with undiagnosed HIV, which comes with serious health risks. HIV medication can keep the virus at undetectable levels, meaning you cannot pass HIV on and your health is protected. Most people get the virus from someone who is unaware they have it, according to the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) charity which campaigns about and provides services relating to HIV and sexual health. HIV testing rates remain a fifth lower than before the Covid-19 pandemic - with heterosexual men in particular now testing far less than in 2019. Read full story Source: BBC News, 5 February 2023
  19. News Article
    Hepatitis B transmission from mothers to babies has been eliminated in England, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). The WHO elimination target is that less than 2% of babies born to mothers with hepatitis B go on to develop the infection. And data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows the figure for England currently stands at 0.1% The UKHSA said progress had been made in tackling the viral infection, which can cause liver damage, cancer and death if left untreated. A six-in-one vaccine is offered to all babies on the NHS when they are eight, 12 and 16 weeks of age. Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “We are paving the way for the elimination of hepatitis B and C, with England set to be one of the first countries in the world to wipe out these viruses.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 2 February 2023 .
  20. News Article
    A virus carried by ticks, which is common in many parts of the world, is now present in the UK and health officials are reminding the public how to avoid bites from the tiny bugs. They say the risk of tick-borne encephalitis is very low—only one person is confirmed to have been infected in England so far, last year. But the tick species which carries the virus is widespread in the UK. Most people do not develop symptoms but swelling to the brain is possible. The UK Health Security Agency has recommended changes to testing in hospital so that any new cases can be picked up quickly. Health officials say anyone who becomes unwell after a tick bite should see a GP. More serious symptoms to look out for include severe headache, stiff neck, unexplained seizure, sudden confusion and weakness in arms and legs. Read full story Source: BBC News, 5 April 2023
  21. Content Article
    Dr Nabarro’s recent comment made on Independent Sage 2 December, that Covid-19 is primarily a droplet-borne infection, flies in the face of overwhelming international scientific consensus that the pandemic is driven by airborne transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Despite airborne transmission being accepted as the dominant mode of spread in almost every other arena, within official infection prevention and control (IPC) bodies in the World Health Organization (WHO) and many national authorities including the UK, there is denial or minimising of airborne spread, and continuing adherence to the droplet theory of transmission. This has meant rejection of airborne mitigations within healthcare, with profound consequences for the lives and health of healthcare workers, as well as for patients in hospitals and care homes. It is now clear that the IPC authorities will not be persuaded, no matter how much evidence is presented to them that SARS-CoV-2 is primarily airborne, and that efforts by aerosol scientists, engineers and health experts to provide further evidence of this, are futile.  This statement from Doctors in Unite explores these issues in detail, and highlights the disastrous record of droplet-only precautions in our hospitals and care homes. It also asks why the critically important “precautionary principle” was not applied throughout healthcare from the outset, to keep workers and patients safe, while the mode of transmission of the virus was being fully elucidated, despite this being official WHO policy. 
  22. Content Article
    Health workers, hailed as heroes during the pandemic, say they’re being abandoned by the NHS and the government. Some are living with Long Covid and say it’s having a devastating impact on both their personal and professional lives. For Panorama, the BBC’s health correspondent, Catherine Burns, meets staff struggling to return to work and reveals how some are now facing financial hardship and the prospect of having to retire early or, worse, being sacked.
  23. News Article
    Public health leaders were slow to act on repeated warnings over Christmas 2020 that contact tracing and isolation should be triggered immediately after a positive lateral flow test result, leaked evidence to the Covid inquiry shows. A scathing “lessons learned” document written by Dr Achim Wolf, a senior test and trace official, and submitted to the inquiry, gives his account of a trail of missed opportunities to improve the NHS test-and-trace regime in the first winter and spring of the pandemic – before vaccines were available. It suggests that people will have unnecessarily spread the virus to friends and relatives in the first Christmas of the pandemic and subsequent January lockdown period because they were not legally required to isolate and have their contacts traced as soon as they got a positive lateral flow test. Instead, for around two months, those eligible for rapid testing were told to get a confirmatory PCR test after a positive lateral flow. About a third of those who subsequently got a negative PCR result were likely to have had Covid anyway. In the “lessons learned” document seen by the Guardian, Wolf says: “Over the winter months, the prevalence in individuals who had 1) a positive lateral flow; followed by 2) a negative PCR; may have been upwards of 30%. These individuals were then allowed to return to their high-risk workplaces.” The former head of policy at NHS test and trace highlights how it took too long to get clear advice from Public Health England about policy on contact tracing and isolation rules in the face of changing scientific evidence on the accuracy of lateral flows. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 30 November 2022
  24. News Article
    A leading health expert has suggested ministers have “lost control of the virus”, after the UK recorded it’s largest 24-hour spike in COVID-19 cases since 23 May. Government figures showed there have been a further 2,988 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK as of 9am on Sunday. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the UK to 347,152. Sunday's figure is the highest since May 22 when 3,287 cases were recorded, and is also the first 24-hour period when cases passed 2,000 since the end of May. The tally was an increase on Saturday's figures of 1,813 new cases. Prof Gabriel Scally, a member of the Independent Sage group and a former NHS regional director of public health for the south-west, warned that government ministers had “lost control of the virus”. “It’s no longer small outbreaks they can stamp on,” he told The Guardian. “It’s become endemic in our poorest communities and this is the result. Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth called upon the government to respond to the sharp spike. He added that it was “a stark reminder that there is no room for complacency in tackling the spread of the virus”. “This increase, combined with the ongoing testing fiasco where ill people are told to drive for miles for tests, and the poor performance of the contact tracing system, needs an explanation from ministers,” he said on Sunday. Read full story Source: The Independent, 7 September 2020
  25. News Article
    At least 6,500 health and care workers may have been infected with coronavirus through their work, including 100 who died, according to data from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The regulator told The Independent it was reviewing each case and could launch investigations under the Health and Safety at Work Act if hospitals or care homes are suspected of not taking adequate steps to protect staff from infection. This could result in a hospital or care home being prosecuted. The latest data from the HSE shows between 10 April and 10 August there were a total of 3, 382 healthcare workplace infections, including 50 fatal incidents. In residential care there were 3,168 infections reported to the watchdog with 48 fatal cases. The results of the review, first revealed earlier this month by The Independent, is being kept secret but where a medical examiner finds a worker may have died as a result of a workplace infection the death will have to be reported to the HSE for possible investigation. Coroners may also hold inquests into deaths. It will also make it easier for families to claim compensation from the government’s additional death in service payments of £60,000 which was announced by health secretary Matt Hancock in April. Read full story Source: The Independent, 25 August 2020
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