Doctors at a hospital in a coronavirus hotspot are being forced to take ‘urgent action’ after admissions have soared.
The Royal Bolton Hospital reported one of its busiest days ever on Monday after the number of cases in the area has reached the highest level in more than six months.
People have been urged to only visit A&E if it is ‘absolutely necessary’.
Andy Ennis, chief operating officer and deputy chief executive of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said last night: ‘[Monday] was one of the busiest days we have ever had in our emergency department.
‘People are presenting with a range of problems and staff are working very hard to ensure they receive all the care they need as quickly and efficiently as possible.
‘However, we are also now seeing more people requiring hospital treatment from the effects of Covid-19, and, whilst we have discharged a number overnight, today [Tuesday] we still have 41 inpatients with Covid, including eight in critical care.’
New advice quietly published on Friday warned people against travelling in and out of these areas and mixing indoors – but it went unnoticed for days after the changes were not communicated to local leaders.
There was backlash and ministers were accused of imposing ‘lockdowns by the backdoor’ – leading to a backtrack by the Government last night.
After outcry from local leaders yesterday, Downing Street said it would updated its advice to make it clear it is not imposing legally-binding local restrictions.
The update came after a joint statement from public health bosses in the eight areas affected told local residents the guidance could be ignored.
The statement said: ‘Following the national coverage of recently revised guidance we have met with national officials and confirmed there are no restrictions on travel in or out of each of our areas: There are no local lockdowns.’
In areas where the Indian variant is spreading, they said they are ‘working together to boost testing and vaccination and to support self-isolation’.
‘There are sensible public health precautions people can take as individuals in line with the sorts of advice we have all been following throughout the pandemic,’ they added.
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