To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the newly identified strain of covid-19 on the capacity of healthcare settings (a) nationally, (b) in Hampshire and (c) in Portsmouth South constituency; and if he will make a statement.
11 January 2021
As a result of the rapid spread of the new variant and rapidly rising incidence rates in the South East, the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) now consider that the new strain of SARS-CoV-2 to be more transmissible. This is a dynamic situation and additional investigation is being undertaken by United Kingdom (UK) experts to understand the potential impact of the new variant.
On 19 December 2020, the Prime Minister introduced tougher restrictions for large parts of South East England with a Tier 4: ‘Stay at Home’ alert level. Throughout the pandemic, the evidence has shown that rising rates of infection will lead to increased hospital admissions risking intolerable pressure on the National Health Service (NHS) in the toughest winter months. The introduction of Tier 4 will protect the NHS and save lives.