Boris Johnson, who has asked the British for two weeks to wash their hands well several times a day for twenty seconds while singing “Happy Birthday”, announced Friday March 27 “Developed mild symptoms of coronavirus”, to know “Temperature and persistent cough”. “I have been tested, said the British Prime Minister, on the advice of the government medical officer, and the test appeared positive. So I work from home “. Boris Johnson now in solitary confinement continues “To communicate with any (his) team to lead our counterattack against the coronavirus”.
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All members of his cabinet could now be tested, like many deputies. Health Minister Matt Hancock and his deputy minister Nadine Dorries also announced that they have tested positive for coronavirus.
Johnson hails “huge public service effort”
In his statement, the British chief executive did not forget, above all, to pay a keen tribute to the “Employees of the national health system” (NHS) and more broadly to salute “The enormous effort of the public service and the 600,000 people who have volunteered to take part in the great national effort to protect people from the consequences of the coronavirus”. In fact, the British health authorities have recently greatly accelerated their response to the spread of the Covid-19 which, on Friday March 27, left 759 people dead in the country.
London will soon have 7,500 intensive care beds, up from just 275 in early March. At the time, four weeks ago, the UK as a whole had 3,700 intensive care beds for adults, of which just under 90% were occupied. As of April 15, all operations deemed non-emergency will be canceled, in the hopes of freeing 30,000 more beds, among the 98,000 in hospitals across the country.
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A temporary hospital has also been established in the Excel conference center in the east of the capital. With 4,000 beds, it will be managed by NHS employees, with support from the military. Two other makeshift hospitals are to be created, in Manchester and Birmingham. So far, 700 soldiers have been deployed in the country to help the sick. In addition, 7,500 former NHS employees have agreed to return to work in hospitals.
As Boris Johnson said, more than 600,000 ordinary citizens have also responded to the health care system’s call to help the British people who are deemed to be most at risk. According to the online site set up for the occasion, they will bring food to people who remain isolated for twelve weeks, transport the healed patients to their homes, and transport materials between hospital sites. Finally, it will be up to them to speak on the phone with people confined alone.
“Explosion in the number of seriously ill patients”
All of these measures seem necessary to counter “The continuous tsunami”according to the expression – widely quoted since – used on Thursday March 26 by Chris Hopson, the executive director of NHS Providers, the organization that brings together all the services of the health system. He then evoked a “Explosion in the number of seriously ill patients”, who arrive, “Wave after wave” in London hospitals.
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The NHS budget suffered less than other public bodies from the authority measures launched by the conservative David Cameron at the beginning of the previous decade. Spending on health has increased on average by 1.4% per year after inflation between 2009 and 2019, which is much lower than the average increase recorded since its creation in 1948, of around 3.7%. Former government science advisor David King says 10 Downing Street has been warned “In 2016, in an unpublished report, hospitals would not be ready to face an epidemic of this kind”.
Finally, while the country, like all of its neighbors, lacks ventilators, the government admitted on Thursday 26 March that it had not participated in a grouped respirator program launched by the EU, officially “Because of a communication problem”. “As confirmed by the European Commission, we are eligible to participate in joint purchases during the transition period (…) and we will take into account participation in a future program”, said a government spokesman. Meanwhile, London has ordered 8,000 respirators, doubling its own inventory.