Major incident declared in London as Covid cases overwhelm hospitals
A new variant of coronavirus has inflicted serious damage in the capital of England.
A major incident has been declared in London after the spread of Covid-19 threatened to seriously overwhelm hospitals in the city.
There are now 35% more Covid-19 patients in London hospitals, compared to April last year.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "The situation in London is now critical with the spread of the virus out of control.
"The stark reality is that we will run out of beds for patients in the next couple of weeks unless the spread of the virus slows down drastically."
BREAKING: London has declared a “major incident” as the surge in COVID cases threatens to overwhelm the NHS in the capital.
There are now 35% more COVID patients in London hospitals than at the peak of the April wave. @LBC
— Matthew Thompson (@mattuthompson) January 8, 2021
Just yesterday, NHS leaders had warned London hospitals could be overwhelmed by Covid-19, even if Nightingale hospitals reopen.
In a Zoom call on Wednesday, the NHS's lead doctor Dr Vin Diwakar told senior medics they could soon be short of between 1,932 and 5,422 beds the total they need to deal with the surge in cases of Covid.
With record breaking numbers of new cases every day in the UK and daily deaths reaching over 1,000, doctors fear the number of people falling seriously unwell with the virus will cripple London hospitals within a fortnight, even if newly imposed lockdown measures are effective.
London has become the worst affected area in England, as video footage recently showed a queue of ambulances outside a hospital in Romford, and staff at the Royal Hospital London were told it was heading into "disaster medicine" mode.
Last week the boss of University College hospital said it was dealing with more cases now than at the peak of the first wave in the spring of 2020 and consequently having to transform other numerous areas of the hospital into makeshift critical care units.
The 'best case scenario' would still see London hospitals short of 1,515 beds, according to Diwakar's briefing.
In a statement to HSJ Dr Diwakar said: "Hospitals in London are coming under significant pressure from high Covid-19 infection rates, which is why they have opened hundreds of surge critical care beds and are planning to open more, including opening the London Nightingale."