Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical advisor at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), says people who are feeling unwell should avoid seeing their relatives and wearing face masks.

Covid-19 UK: Health chiefs issue advice not to meet elderly relatives if they feel unwell

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical advisor at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), says people who are feeling unwell should avoid seeing their relatives and wearing face masks.

Britons who are feeling unwell have been urged to avoid seeing their elderly relatives and to wear face masks again due to the resurgence of Covid.

The number of patients infected with the virus in hospital rose to its highest level in two months, adding to pressure on the already crippled NHS.

Experts fear that the situation will continue to escalate in the coming weeks, with the wave accelerating.

Some hospitals have already brought back requirements for face masks due to the slight increase. Others have even reimposed social distancing guidelines, in scenes reminiscent of the early days of the pandemic.

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical advisor at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said anyone with a cold-like illness should wear a face covering in public.

“If you are sick, it is especially important to avoid contact with the elderly or those who are at higher risk of developing serious illness due to their ongoing health conditions,” she added.

Despite Covid fears starting to escalate again, ministers have not hinted that any return to pandemic-era borders is in sight yet.

Prime Minister Liz Truss described previous restrictions during the pandemic as “very significant” and ruled out any further lockdown.

The latest NHS England data shows there were 9,631 infected people who required hospital treatment as of Wednesday.

This is up 37 percent from 7,024 recorded just a week ago and represents the highest number since August 3.

UKHSA surveillance data shows cases appear to be the highest in the over 80s at the moment.

However, confirmed cases depend on who gets tested, and older adults living in care homes are more likely to have regular smears.

A total of 9,631 people infected with coronavirus were in hospital as of 8am on 5 October, according to NHS England.  That's up 37 percent from 7,024 the previous week, the highest number since August 3.  The graph shows: the number of Covid patients in hospital (blue line) compared to the number there mainly due to the virus (red line)

A total of 9,631 people infected with coronavirus were in hospital as of 8am on 5 October, according to NHS England. That’s up 37 percent from 7,024 the previous week, the highest number since August 3. The graph shows: the number of Covid patients in hospital (blue line) compared to the number there mainly due to the virus (red line)

The number of tests that came back positive was 9.2 per 100,000, an increase of 10 percent compared to the previous week.  The graph shows: the number of confirmed cases (blue bars) and positivity testing (dotted line) each week until October 2

The number of tests that came back positive was 9.2 per 100,000, an increase of 10 percent compared to the previous week. The graph shows: the number of confirmed cases (blue bars) and positivity testing (dotted line) each week until October 2

Confirmed cases were highest in the most vulnerable age group over 80.  However, confirmed cases depend on who gets tested, as older adults who live in care homes are more likely to have regular smears.  The lowest percentage was among those aged 10 to 19 and five to nine, despite returning to school last month.  The graph shows: Confirmed Covid cases for every age group in England every week until 2 October

Confirmed cases were highest in the most vulnerable age group over 80. However, confirmed cases depend on who gets tested, as older adults who live in care homes are more likely to have regular smears. The lowest percentage was among those aged 10 to 19 and five to nine, despite returning to school last month. The graph shows: Confirmed Covid cases for every age group in England every week until 2 October

The graph shows: The number of confirmed Covid cases each week in England in the weeks to October 2

The graph shows: The number of confirmed Covid cases each week in England in the weeks to October 2

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows that Covid infections in England jumped by more than a tenth to 857,400 in the week ending September 20.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows that Covid infections in England jumped by more than a tenth to 857,400 in the week ending September 20.

Number of Covid patients in English hospitals jumps to two-month high

The number of hospital beds in England occupied by Covid patients rose to its highest level in two months, in another sign of the virus’s resurgence.

The latest NHS England data shows there were 9,631 infected people who needed treatment as of yesterday. This is up 37 percent from 7,024 recorded just a week ago and represents the highest number since August 3.

However, experts have argued that the jump is mainly driven by so-called “accidental” cases, in which patients are admitted with another illness — such as a broken leg or heart attack — and subsequently tested positive.

The number of patients exceeded 14,000 in mid-July at the height of the infection wave caused by Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 virus sub variants.

They were steadily retreating until mid-September, but have since begun to creep back in, leading some to declare it the start of the inevitable winter spell.

Dr Hopkins said: “This week’s data shows another increase in Covid cases and hospitalization rates, which are now at their highest level in months.

And outbreaks in hospitals and nursing homes are on the rise.

Make sure you have any Covid vaccinations for which you are eligible and avoid contact with others if you feel unwell or develop symptoms of a respiratory infection.

If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, wearing a face covering will also help stop the spread of the infection.

Despite the rise in hospital admissions, only four out of 10 Covid patients were admitted because they were unwell with the virus.

The majority are those who have tested positive for the virus but are receiving NHS care for another illness, such as a broken leg.

Some experts refused to raise fear about the recent surge in cases, arguing that the current wave was inevitable due to weakened immunity among the population, increased indoor mixing in the colder months and an increase in cases among pupils after they returned to classes last month.

Coronavirus hospital data is currently published once a week on Thursdays.

The latest numbers show all regions are recording a steady rise in the number of patients, with three regions returning to levels last seen in late July.

South West England currently has 1,003 patients who have tested positive for Covid, which is not much lower than its peak during the BA.4/BA.5 wave of 1,229.

South East England has 1,553 patients, compared to the summer peak of 1,985, while East England has 1,064 patients, compared to the summer peak of 1,432.

However, all numbers remain well below those reached during the early waves of the epidemic.

Although two-thirds of hospitalized Covid patients are receiving treatment primarily for another reason, they still need to be isolated — putting additional pressure on staff already struggling to finish a record backlog of treatment.

Experts have claimed that the high rate of accidental accidents is caused by hospital transmissions and an overall increase in Covid cases in the community.

Sites in East Suffolk, Essex and Gloucestershire now require all visitors to wear blankets while in their hospitals.  Some are also asking patients to wear masks and re-enforcing social distancing guidelines, in scenes reminiscent of the early days of the pandemic

Sites in East Suffolk, Essex and Gloucestershire now require all visitors to wear blankets while in their hospitals. Some are also asking patients to wear masks and re-enforcing social distancing guidelines, in scenes reminiscent of the early days of the pandemic

The graph shows: The total number of patients in hospital with Covid in England each day until September 26

The graph shows: The total number of patients in hospital with Covid in England each day until September 26

The graph shows: The total number of Covid patients admitted to hospital in England each day until September 26

The graph shows: The total number of Covid patients admitted to hospital in England each day until September 26

The graph shows: The total number of Covid patients on ventilator beds in hospitals in England every day until September 26

The graph shows: The total number of Covid patients on ventilator beds in hospitals in England every day until September 26

‘Hospital admissions continue to rise in England – a 33 per cent increase from last week,’ Professor Christina Bagel, a mathematician at University College London and an Independent Sage member, said on Twitter. Daily admission goes back to more than 1,000 times a day.

Ascent in all areas but fastest in East England, North East and South East. The Southwest is still up and London is at its lowest so far. Not sure why.

Both admissions directly due to Covid and where Covid is a secondary issue are rising quickly, but accidental admissions are more than that.

“A sign of rapid community spread and high in hospital transmission.”

Boris Johnson’s government lifted all remaining pandemic restrictions in the spring, as the successful launch of the vaccine and high immunity in the population mean the UK can ‘learn to live with Covid and end government regulations’.

The former prime minister has indicated that the government may re-impose measures if a new variable emerges that imposes “unsustainable pressure” on the NHS.

However, the UK has remained free of restrictions since then, despite there being two more Covid summits, and new Prime Minister Liz Truss said she would not impose a lockdown.

She described the restrictions imposed under Johnson – including three closures, school closures and work-from-home measures – as “extremely draconian” and said the government had “done a lot”.

In previous lockdowns, the threat of unsustainable pressure on the NHS was the main metric used to decide if a restriction was required.

Health chiefs hope the enhanced fall COVID-19 campaign – targeting 26 million people over 50, at-risk groups and health and care workers – will mitigate the impact of the wave on already disrupted health services.

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