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Tuesday 31st March 2020

Coronavirus: NHS crisis as boss claims 'up to 50 per cent of staff are off sick'

Hospitals are facing what one NHS boss has described as a "tsunami" of coronavirus cases, with as many as half of frontline staff off sick because of COVID-19.

According to Chris Hopson, chief exec of NHS Providers, London hospitals are seeing an "explosion" in demand for critical care.

(Credit: NHS England and NHS Improvements / YouTube)

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He said: "They are struggling with two things. The first is the explosion of demand they are seeing in seriously ill patients.

An 'unprecedented' number of staff off work

"They talk about wave after wave after wave - the word that's often used to me is a continuous tsunami.

"We are now seeing 30 per cent, 40 per cent and indeed in some places 50 per cent sickness rates as staff catch the virus or are in vulnerable groups or have to self-isolate. That's unprecedented."

London hospitals are seeing an "unprecedented" number of staff off sick (Credit: Google Maps)

The NHS is reportedly taking huge steps to prepare for the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far claimed 465 lives in the UK.

The word that's often used to me is a continuous tsunami.

Experts think the peak could be here in as little as two or three weeks, so from April the NHS will be cancelling all routine operations.

The health service is also rushing to get as many patients as possible discharged from hospitals, which could free up around 30,000 of England's 100,000 hospital beds.

Rushing to increase intensive care capacity

According to the BBC, the NHS has 3,700 intensive care beds for adults in England, and 4,000 in the whole of the UK.

Around eight out of 10 of them were occupied at the beginning of March. The NHS is now working on sourcing extra ventilators to increase the number of intensive care beds to around 12,000.

It follows reports of police cracking down on drivers defying the coronavirus lockdown.

Police in the UK have been stopping drivers to ask where they are going (Credit: Pixabay)

Read more: Coronavirus: Sex offender, 84, is 'first prisoner to die from virus'

Cops all over the country are understood to be setting up road checkpoints and stopping drivers at random, to discourage non-essential journeys and minimise the spread of coronavirus.

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