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Minister denies there is a Covid ‘plan C’ to ban Christmas mixing in England

plan C

Minister denies there is a Covid ‘plan C’ to ban Christmas mixing in England

Current pressure on the NHS is “sustainable”, according to a health minister, who denied the government had a “plan C” that would ban the mixing of households at Christmas in England if cases continued to rise.

Edward Argar told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that while the NHS was “under huge pressure” it was not the right time to introduce any additional measures to control the spread of Covid.

It came as the British Medical Council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, accused ministers of being “wilfully negligent” after the health secretary ruled out immediately implementing the government’s coronavirus “plan B”.

Nagpaul said: “It is wilfully negligent of the Westminster government not to be taking any further action to reduce the spread of infection, such as mandatory mask wearing, physical distancing and ventilation requirements in high-risk settings, particularly indoor crowded spaces. These are measures that are the norm in many other nations.”

Argar urged people to get vaccinated to help “ease that pressure on the NHS”. He said plan A was still working, adding: “It’s a race … between the vaccines, and getting those in people’s arms, and the virus. We’re still winning that race at the moment, but it’s narrowing, that lead is narrowing. So what we need to do is that sprint for the line.”

On Wednesday Sajid Javid predicted new infections could hit a record 100,000 a day and urged millions of eligible people to come forward for booster jabs. Javid urged people to wear masks in crowded places and test themselves before go to Christmas parties. But the government has been accused of sending mixed messages, with most Conservative MPs declining to wear masks in the House of Commons or in packed cabinet meetings, and the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, encouraging the public to book Christmas parties.

On Thursday a leading virologist said the UK was probably already close to 100,000 cases a day. Dr Chris Smith, from the University of Cambridge, said half of Covid cases were asymptomatic, meaning the number of active cases in the UK was likely far higher than currently recorded, “we just don’t know about lots of them”.

Pushed on Conservative MPs wearing masks, Argar said there was a “leadership role for members of parliament on all sides”, adding: “I think it’s for those individual members of parliament to read the guidance, consider it, bear in mind what Sajid has said and reach their own views.”

Argar was asked about comments from the UK government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, who said it was important to act before it appeared necessary.

Argar told Sky News: “I think what Patrick’s saying there is you’ve got to look ahead. We know that you have a lead time of two weeks roughly between infections and hospitalisations, and for the two weeks between, sadly, hospitalisations and deaths in the most serious cases.

“I think what Patrick saying is always look to the future, consider when is the right moment to act … I don’t think we’re at that point yet.”

Argar denied there was a plan C being considered by the government which would ban the mixing of households at Christmas, as reported in the Daily Telegraph. “That isn’t something that is being actively considered,” he said.

Asked on Sky News how bad the situation in the NHS would have to get before the government moved to plan B, he said it would not “be appropriate to set an arbitrary figure, X number of infections, X number of hospitalisations”.

Bed occupancy levels were one measure of whether the pressures on the NHS were sustainable, he told Times Radio. With 95,000 beds across the hospital system available, 7,000 were occupied with Covid patients and 6,000 were unoccupied.

“We do have a degree of headroom at this time, we continue to monitor it hour by hour, day by day, to see what’s happening with those figures, both in terms of infection, but also crucially in terms of hospitalisation,” he said. “Our assessment at the moment is the most effective way to continue to control that is for people to get those booster jabs.”

He said people should no longer wait to be invited to get their booster vaccine if the right amount of time had passed, as they could book it themselves online.

Health

NAFDAC bans sale of Dex Luxury bar soap in Nigeria

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control, (NAFDAC) has placed a ban on the sale of Dex Luxury bar soap in Nigeria.

The agency explained that the ban was due to Butyphenyl Methylpropional, BMHCA, content in the product.

This was contained in a post on the Agency’s X handle on Thursday.

According to the post, the European Union, EU, banned the product due to the risk of harming the reproductive system of users, causing harm to the health of the unborn child, and cause skin sensitization.

“Although this product is not on the NAFDAC database, importers, distributors, retailers, and consumers are advised to exercise caution and vigilance within the supply chain to avoid the importation, distribution, sale, and use of the above-mentioned product”, the agency added.

 

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Health

No outbreak of Lassa fever in any local govt- Kogi Govt

Nigeria identifies three drugs for Lassa fever treatment

Kogi State Government has debunked any outbreak of Lassa fever across the 21 local government areas of the State.

Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr. Abdulazeez Adams Adeiza while reacting to a viral video of an alleged lassa fever outbreak, noted that a student who was admitted to the Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja did not die of lassa fever.

According to the Commissioner, it was reported that the student died of hemorrhagic fever.

The Commissioner explained that the deceased student who was admitted at the Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja presented complaints of fever and bleeding from the gum.

He added that the patient was being investigated and managed, while samples were taken and sent to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC) Abuja, but before the result was released, he had lost his life.

The Commissioner said the result came out to be negative for lassa fever.

In his words, ”the suspected case has turned out to be negative for lassa fever.

“It is not only lassa fever that can make a patient to present bleeding from the gum. Other reasons could include blood dyscrasias and bleeding disorders”.

He advised members of the public to disregard the report as no case of lassa fever has been reported in the state

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Health

UCH workers directed to stop working by 4pm over continuous blackout

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) which is the umbrella body of unions at the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Oyo state, has directed all employees of the health institution to commence work from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily from Tuesday, April 2. 

The directive came after the tertiary health institution was disconnected by the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, (IBEDC) over N495 million debt accrued in over six years.

Addressing newsmen, chairman of JAC, Oludayo Olabampe stated that it is no longer safe to continue to attend to patients under the circumstances. He also said that workers would embark on strike if power is not restored.

He said;

“Workers would now work from 8 am to 4 pm only because it is dangerous and risky to attend to patients in that situation. We held a meeting with the management this morning but the issue is that there is no electricity. So, from today, Tuesday, April 2, we will work until 4 p.m. We are not attending to any patient after 4 p.m.

“This means that we won’t admit patients because the nurses that will take care of them will not be available after 4 p.m. and you don’t expect patients to be on their own from 4 p.m. till 8 a.m. the following day.

“If patients need blood tests, the lab will not work, if they need radiography, the radiographers will not work, and the dieticians in charge of their food too will not work after 4 p.m. We also gave management another 14-day ultimatum which started counting from March 27, and if after 14 days power is not restored, we will embark on warning strike.”

Commenting on the development, the chief medical director of UCH, Jesse Otegbayo, alleged that IBEDC was billing the hospital as an industry. He stated that the union did not formally notify management before making such a decision.

He said;

“I have not heard about that, if they are going to do that, they should write to management officially, and then the management will respond. There are rules that govern government service, you can’t just decide what hours you work and expect to be paid full-time.

“If they go ahead to do that without informing management officially, management has a way of applying the rules to pay them for the number of hours which they worked. The proper thing is for them to put it in writing because they didn’t write officially to the management before taking the decision.”

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