A number of measures have been taken with the aim of reducing, or entirely preventing, a second wave of the virus spreading through the community. These measures include social distancing, restricted travel, use of face coverings and shielding the most vulnerable. Although these may not seem like ‘new’ measures or signs of preparation, it is imperative to remember that these are simple but effective steps that we can all take to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Capacity has been increased in the NHS, with the creation of new Nightingale Hospitals – on standby until at least March 2021 – and the purchase of additional ventilators, and establishment of a PPE taskforce to ensure that health and social care facilities are able to access all the equipment that they need. On top of this, the NHS will be allowed to continue using additional private hospital capacity
This is backed up with an agreed £30 billion of funding for health & social care and £1.5 billion capital funding already announced. The Prime Minister has also announced a further £3 billion to help ease winter pressures facing the NHS. The new funding will be available to the health service immediately.
To help control the virus, the government is increasing testing and it will expand our testing capacity to 500,000 per day by the end of October.
Thinking further ahead, funding and work for a new vaccine is going ahead and the government has already ordered 100 million doses should it be successful – with positive news coming out of trials in Oxford.
In the event that the virus returns, I hope that the above measures reassure you that we are well prepared to deal with a new increase in cases. However, I strongly encourage everyone to continue to follow government guidance to reduce the likelihood of this happening.