Stick to Plan B but brace for pressure on NHS, says Boris Johnson

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However, Mr Hopson said it was “very clear that the NHS in the rest of the country outside London is now coming under the significant pressure that London has been encountering”.

Official figures showed that in the past seven days, total numbers of Covid cases in hospitals in England have risen from 8,474 to 14,210, a rise of 68 per cent.

While daily admissions have fallen from a peak of 2,370 on December 29 to 1,819 on January 1, the total numbers in hospital have continued to climb, amid staff shortages, and difficulties discharging patients.

Official figures show that in the North East and Yorkshire, total numbers in hospital have risen by 122 per cent in seven days, with 1,975 in hospital on January 3, up from 889 the week before.

The rise in the North West has nearly doubled, with Covid patients rising from 1,226 to 2,384.

The Midlands has seen a 75 per cent rise, from 2,518 to 1,443, while the East of England saw a 54 per cent increase from 809 to 1,250. The South East has seen a 58 per cent increase from 926 to 1,463 in hospital.

Hospital numbers are far larger in London, with 3,848 Covid cases on wards, a 46 per cent rise in a week, from 2,640. But the growth has slowed significantly in recent days, with a daily increase of 2.7 per cent on Monday, and rises of two per cent and one per cent in the days before. New admissions have continued to fall since peaking at 511 on 29 December, with 314 reported on January 1.

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