British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said the pressure on the country’s health system was “extraordinary” in view of the record number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals.
Some hospitals would have to postpone cancer operations and have ambulances queuing at the door, Johnson said.
“This is not the time for the slightest relaxation of our national resolve,” he said.
People should continue to exercise caution and stay at home whenever possible.
According to official figures, more Covid-19 patients are currently being treated in British hospitals than ever before, a total of more than 37,000. More than 4,000 people were newly hospitalized on Tuesday alone, Johnson said.
The government blames the much more contagious coronavirus variant discovered in England for the rapid increase in new infections.
Even in the supermarket, standing in line too close to another person could be dangerous, Johnson warned.
Britain had more than 550 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants last week. In many parts of London that figure is well over 1,000.
Fearing the spread of further variants for example from Brazil – Britain is also further tightening its entry rules.
From Monday, a negative coronavirus test not older than 72 hours is required to enter the country and all entrants must quarantine for ten days without exception.
The quarantine can be ended by another negative test on the fifth day at the earliest. Previously, entrants coming from some countries were exempt.
Meanwhile, the pace of the vaccination campaign is to be further increased with the help of pharmacies. Britain has so far vaccinated 3.2 million people.