Swift action needed to get to grips with Covid in the capital as London records highest R rate in UK

Press release from the BMA

Location: England
Published: Thursday 29 October 2020

Responding to the news, announced today, that the R rate in London is the highest in England, Dr Gary Marlowe, chair of the BMA’s London regional council chair said:

“Having the estimated highest R rate in the country, meaning that each infected person in London is infecting up to three more, is potentially catastrophic for our capital city. Local health services are already buckling under the pressure and in some areas of London we are now seeing a steep rise in the number of patients needing intensive care. And while death rates are currently low, we know the number of people who will lose their lives is likely to rise. NHS staff are exhausted, and the BMA’s recent survey of doctors showed they have little faith in the NHS ability to cope with the existing backlog of patients needing care, never mind a surge in Covid cases.

“London, like many other cities, is now at a critical stage - but imposing greater restrictions such as moving to Tier 3 needs to be supported by a long-term prevention strategy. Stemming the rise of infection rates through a circuit breaker or temporary lockdown is a necessary step but it’s crucial to have a plan in place to keep the infection rate low once the restrictions are lifted.

“People cannot live in a never-ending Tier 3; they need to know when an end is in sight and what to do to keep infection rates low. If such a strategy is not put in place by Government, the cycle will keep repeating itself and the consequences will be grave.

“After months of empty promises and confusion, we also urgently need the Government to get its act together and finally deliver a fit-for-purpose test, trace and isolate system, and vastly improved public health messaging to help everyone, from all our communities, mitigate against the risks and prevent the spread of Covid.”


Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

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