Health ministers said they believe there is likely “about a million people” in self-isolation across the UK right now.
Following the televised Downing Street news conference held by Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday, Health Minister Gillian Keegan made an appearance on Sky News this morning to discuss the rising number of COVID cases across the UK.
Official figures released yesterday showed that the UK recorded 218,724 positive cases over COVID-19 in the latest 24-hour period.
Ms Keegan therefore made the self-isolation numbers prediction based off this.
“We don’t actually collect that data on a daily basis, but it’s obvious if you look at how many people tested positive yesterday, about 215,000, that they’ll all be self-isolating and obviously from the previous days,” Ms Keegan told Sky News this morning.
“So it’s about a million people probably are self-isolating right now.”
The predicted figures of those in self-isolation comes as it is understood, and has been reported in The Telegraph and several other national media outlets, that the government is expected to make changes to testing rules today, which means that those who test positive on Lateral Flow Tests will no longer need a follow-up PCR to confirm.
Awaiting PCR results is said to be a cause of delay to the official start of isolation for hundreds of thousands of people.
At present, people without symptoms who test positive on a Lateral Flow test are asked to order a PCR test, and are then told to only begin their isolation period when they get the PCR result, which effectively requires them to isolate for longer than seven days.
Growing delays in getting PCR test results have also been widely reported across the UK.
But, it has now been reported that health officials have drawn up plans to limit PCR tests to those showing symptoms, which will allow those who are asymptomatic – about 40% of cases – to return to work more quickly.
People who test positive on lateral flows will still need to isolate for at least seven days, and Ms Keegan told Sky News that people will need to register their positive Lateral Flow results.
The news of the expected number of people currently in self-isolation also follows the confirmation that 17 hospitals in Greater Manchester have taken the “temporary measure” to pause some non-urgent surgeries and appointments, largely due to staff shortages after COVID cases have “risen sharply” in the region.
Manchester Royal Infirmary, Salford Royal, and North Manchester General are among the 17 hospitals pausing non-urgent surgeries.
The predicted current self-isolation numbers also come after multiple hospitals across the country declared critical incidents over the weekend amid warnings the NHS is “in a state of crisis”, as well as a growing number of industries – including education, public transport, retail, hospitality, and NHS and healthcare – reporting being affected with mass staff shortages.
Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) said that in some hospitals in our region, more than one in five patients have COVID, and around 15% of hospital staff are off ill or isolating.
Looking nationally, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation said there are “unprecedented” health worker shortages, while staff still able to come in are said to be “exhausted” after giving up their days off.
Prime Ministers Questions (PMQs) will commence in the House of Commons at 12pm today.
Police issue update after Sterling flies home from World Cup following home invasion
Surrey Police have issued an update following Raheem Sterling’s home invasion that has forced the England international to fly home from the 2022 World Cup.
The former Manchester City star was left out of the Three Lions squad against Senegal due to a “family matter” on Sunday before the exact circumstances were confirmed shortly after.
Authorities have now verified that hundreds of thousands of pounds of goods had been stolen from the property but that, fortunately, “no threat of violence was involved”.
Sterling flew just hours after hearing of the break-in at his home Leatherhead home where he lives with his fiancé and two children.
Manager Gareth Southgate could not confirm whether the Chelsea player will be returning to the squad, insisting that, obviously, “the priority is for him to be with his family” and that they will “give him as much time as he needs”.
The police force said in a statement: “We are currently investigating a report of a burglary at an address in Oxshott, Leatherhead.
“Police were contacted just before 9pm on Saturday, December 3rd after the occupants of the property came home and discovered a number of items including jewellery and watches had been stolen.
“Inquiries to establish the circumstances are underway and the investigation is ongoing. No threat of violence was involved as the items were discovered stolen retrospectively. Inquiries into the circumstances are ongoing.”
Man arrested on suspicion of rape and robbery after entering woman’s apartment through the window
A man has been arrested on suspicion of rape and robbery after a horrific incident in Hulme.
GMP has been investigating since a man broke into a woman’s apartment through a window at around 5am on Thursday 29 November.
He threatened her at knifepoint before raping her.
In a short update, GMP said: “A man has been arrested on suspicion of rape and robbery. He remains in custody for questioning.”
The man entered the victim’s home on Wilmott Street, on the outskirts of the city centre, through an ‘insecure window’.
Detective Superintendent David Meeney, of GMP’s City of Manchester district said last week: “We are following several lines of enquiry and will have extra patrols in the area over the next few days.
“Offences of this nature are very rare, and this is being treated as an isolated incident. There are detectives working around the clock to identify the male responsible and the victim is receiving specialist support.
“We are urging people in the area to be vigilant and to make sure their doors and windows are secure, especially during the late evening and through the night.
“If anyone has any information regarding this incident, or if they see any suspicious activity in the area, please report this to officers in person or by calling 101 quoting 726 of 29/11/22. If it is an emergency, always dial 999.”
If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually assaulted, we encourage you not to suffer in silence and report it to the police, or a support agency so you can get the help and support available.
Saint Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Manchester provides a comprehensive and co-ordinated response to men, women and children who live or have been sexually assaulted within Greater Manchester. They offer forensic medical examinations, practical and emotional support as well as a counselling service for all ages. Services are available on a 24-hour basis and can be accessed by calling 0161 276 6515.
Greater Manchester Rape Crisis is a confidential information, support and counselling service run by women for women over 18 who have been raped or sexually abused at any time in their lives. Call on 0161 273 4500 or email [email protected]
Survivors Manchester provides specialist trauma informed support to male victims in Greater Manchester who have experienced sexual abuse, rape or sexual exploitation. Call 0161 236 2182.