Rules about exercise is today's lockdown row, but the rate by which hospital admissions are now increasing all over the UK feels altogether more worrying. A brief thread... (1)
NHS Providers CEO @chrishopson warned the Health Committee this morning he now fears this wave's peak will no longer subside in Janaury, but now extend into early or mid February because of the increased transmissibility of the new strain (2)
Rates of increase are now slowing in London, the SE and East of England to only(!) 3% more admissions daily now, but they are rocketing in the Midlands, NW and SW. In the NW alone, daily growth rate in hospital admissions now above 7%. ht @davewwest for this graph (3)
I am told by senior health figures these rates are all the more worrying, because trusts in the Midlands and North have significant numbers of patients still in hospital from the second surge in Oct/Nov, and the SW has a smaller bed base and is less able to absorb pressure (4)
What effect does that have on the lockdown's length? Restrictions can and will ease only when the NHS is no longer under heavy pressure - the Govt’s No1 rule. As long as hospitals are full/cases high, the lockdown will remain - with or without a successful vaccine rollout (5)
So how long will it take to get tens of thousands more people out of hospital and the case rate well down if it doesn't even start declining until the end of Feb? Right now, even a March end to lockdown looks 'Hancockian' (6)

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More from @tnewtondunn

10 Jan
Deputy Chief Constable Paul Netherton, National Police Lead for Civil Contingencies, tells G&T: "As we left the previous lockdowns and went into tiers, the message was confusing. The pubic thought 'oh, I can do more. Now everybody knows what the rules are".
Do the police have enough powers to enforce lockdown? Paul Netherton: "There is no power to stop people travelling, or walking down the street. But we can stop people to ask them what they're doing".
Are you concerned not enough people are abiding by the lockdown rules at the moment? Paul Netherton: "Yes, I am. We need to get the R rate down".
Read 4 tweets
4 Jan
Boris Johnson's lockdown address live on @TimesRadio now...
Boris Johnson enforces a new England-wide national lockdown with immediate effect tonight.
The third, and as tough as the first last March. Will last 6 weeks, until mid-February.
Read 8 tweets
4 Jan
I understand that the Joint Biosecurity Centre is moving the Covid-19 alert level up to 5 for the first time, the highest level. This means there is “a material risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed in 21 days".
It's currently at Level 4, “a high or rising level of transmission". It is this that has prompted the PM to impose a 3rd national lockdown tonight, sources close to him say, as well as today's new case numbers, described to me as "horrific". More on @TimesRadio after 4pm.
A reminder; Image
Read 4 tweets
13 Dec 20
Where is the Brexit trade deal negotiation now, after the PM and UVDL agreed to extend their 'final' deadline of today?
1. Boris Johnson insists the UK and EU are still "very far apart" on key areas, but everyone expects them to "go the extra mile", so they will.
2. Boris Johnson publicly and Downing Street privately are refusing to discuss whether either side has moved overnight - which very much suggests one/both have. And UVDL described the 11am call as "useful", + made no mention of big gaps continuing.
3. In what would be a crucial break through, @nickgutteridge reports the EU has dropped its demand for a ratchet clause to impose lightening tariffs for LPF divergence. No10 also refusing to discuss this.
Read 6 tweets
11 Nov 20
More on the internal power struggle raging in No10. I understand that Lee Cain, his current Director of Comms, tendered his resignation last week. Argued that he would be sidelined by the appointment of a new Chief of Staff and new on-air spokeswoman Allegra Stratton (1/5)
Cain told his staff he was going, and didn't return to No10 for several days. One source tells me it amounted to an ultimatum from Cain to the PM - if you sideline me, you lose me. This is what sparked the conversation between them about Cain taking the Chief of Staff role (2/5)
Cain’s promotion is bitterly opposed by others, not least PM’s fiancee and closest unofficial adviser Carrie Symonds. Some say appointment is ”close to done deal” but others say the PM is now very undecided. One source says there is just “a 20% chance of it happening now” (3/5)
Read 5 tweets
13 Sep 20
NEW: Boris Johnson's former Attorney General Geoffrey Cox tonight reveals he will vote against the Internal Markets Bill in protest at the Government's plan to break international law - an act he calls "unconscionable". I have spoken to him. Full story on @TimesRadio now.
Geoffrey Cox insists the UK must uphold the Withdrawal Agreement, that he signed off as the PM’s most senior legal officer in October 2019. But he backs No10 / David Frost in their dispute with Michel Barnier over the NI Protocol, and believes the EU is now acting in bad faith.
Instead, Cox QC wants the Government to trigger the dispute resolution mechanism in the Withdrawal Agreement. Then, as an interim measure, HMG can act unilaterally and legislate to override the WA - but it will be done lawfully, he argues.
Read 7 tweets

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