PM JOHNSON shed crocodile tears on Saturday as UK Covid-19 fatalities passed the 150,000 mark, with the BMA doctors’ union warning that ‘still the government fails to take proper control of this virus’.
Responding to news that the UK has recorded more than 150,000 Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: ‘Today marks a sombre and deeply tragic milestone in our fight against this devastating virus. Each of the 150,000 who have died have left loved ones and friends behind, and our thoughts and sympathies go out to them for their loss.
‘This figure is a stark reminder that Covid-19 remains serious and deadly, and means that in less than a year the UK has seen another 50,000 deaths from the virus – it was only on January 26, 2021 that we mourned the loss of 100,000 people.
‘We must not play down the impact of Omicron as a mild illness, especially with increasing numbers of patients being hospitalised.
‘Today, there are almost 18,500 people in hospital with Covid – a figure which has more than doubled since Christmas.
‘Two-dozen hospital trusts have now declared critical incidents, and ambulance services are failing to meet deadlines to reach patients with life-threatening illnesses.
‘This is on top of pressures from the record-breaking waiting list of almost six million patients.
‘Omicron is also resulting in soaring NHS staff absences across hospitals and general practice, with reductions in appointments and services. Even the army is now being deployed to provide support.
‘It is vital that NHS staff are protected from infection at work in order to reduce staff illness and absences.
‘This is exactly why we’re calling for higher-grade respirator PPE masks, which can filtrate airborne spread of the virus which normal surgical masks do not.
‘The vaccination programme has made a huge difference in reducing deaths from Covid. Everything possible needs to be done to make sure everyone who is eligible is vaccinated, including with the booster which is needed to protect against Omicron.
‘In the meantime, government must do all it can to get control of Omicron with immediate public health measures, not only to protect the health service, but also more people from unnecessarily losing their lives.’
Johnson lamented the Covid-related fatalities in a tweet on a black background on Saturday, saying: ‘Coronavirus has taken a terrible toll on our country and today the number of deaths recorded has reached 150,000.’
He added that ‘each and every one of those’ who died ‘is a profound loss to the families, friends and communities affected and my thoughts and condolences are with them’.