Daily Express


- By hanna Geissler Health Reporter

BORIS Johnson yesterday announced a £600million package for coronaviru­s infection control in English care homes.

The Prime Minister said the number of outbreaks and fatalities there was now well down – but admitted the number of deaths had been “too high”.

Figures released on Tuesday suggested that care home deaths accounted for some 40 per cent of coronaviru­s-related fatalities registered in England and Wales in the week ending May 1.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused the Government of being “too slow to protect” the residents.

He also referred to official advice in place until March 12 which said it remained “very unlikely” that people in care homes would become infected.

Mr Johnson, responding during PMQs in the Commons, added: “A huge exercise in testing is going on – a further £600million, I can announce, for infection control in care homes.

“It is absolutely true that the number of casualties has been too high, but the number of outbreaks is down and the number of fatalities in care homes is now well down.”

Mr Johnson said it had been an “appalling epidemic” and that the final death toll would be “stark” and “deeply horrifying”.

Charities will warn MPs on the Health and Social Care Select Committee today that restarting health and care services will take many months.

Services are facing a backlog of patients and urgent action is needed to tackle the spread of coronaviru­s in care homes, according to The Health Foundation, The King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust.

In a joint submission to the committee, they said an informatio­n campaign will be needed to urge the public to overcome their fears and use the NHS again.

And preparatio­ns must be made for a possible second peak of the virus – and the usual winter pressures.

The NHS is due to publish data which is expected to show that the number of people waiting for treatment has soared during the pandemic. Before the outbreak, the waiting list stood at around 4.4 million.

Dr Jennifer Dixon, chief executive of the Health Foundation, said: “Getting services back up and running, taking account of likely future pressures from Covid-19, winter, and the backlog of ill health from delayed care will be a steep climb.”

Maintainin­g infection control as services restart will require even more PPE, expansion of testing and tracing, space for social distancing to be maintained and additional staff to clean equipment and facilities, the charities said.

Nigel Edwards, of Nuffield Trust, said there was no route back to the way things were before with the virus still at large. He added: “Unfortunat­ely that means people waiting much longer and some services being put on hold.”

NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts, will also give evidence today.

Chris Hopson, its chief executive, said the NHS had performed well through the first peak of the virus, “but that’s just the first few laps of what we know will be a marathon”.

He added: “Only now is the scale of the challenge for the rest of the race coming into view.”

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 ?? Pictures: PETER MACDIARMID/LNP, JESSICA TAYLOR/UK PARLIAMENT ?? Boris Johnson took dog Dilyn for a stroll in London yesterday
Pictures: PETER MACDIARMID/LNP, JESSICA TAYLOR/UK PARLIAMENT Boris Johnson took dog Dilyn for a stroll in London yesterday
 ??  ?? Mr Johnson addressing MPs in Commons
Mr Johnson addressing MPs in Commons
 ??  ?? Keir Starmer at PMQs yesterday
Keir Starmer at PMQs yesterday

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