LONDON — March 21, 2020: The National Health Service will have more ventilators, beds and healthcare staff from next week following an agreement with private hospitals.
With this, NHS England will have a further 8,000 beds, close to 20,000 staff including about 700 doctors and 1,200 ventilators in a major boost to NHS hospitals that are close to breaking point and with essential equipment in short supply.
The total number of fatalities in Britain from Covid-19 as of today is 177.
Yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered pubs, restaurants, theaters, cinemas and gyms to shut their doors in a move to try and check the spread of infections. Britain has an estimated 40,000 pubs employing close to 500,000 people.
The decision was made after an earlier plea to this sector failed to move them to close voluntarily. Some people in Britain are now expecting food rationing at the supermarkets to be the next major decision by Johnson after reports emerged of shelves being emptied by panic buying, leaving certain segments of the community, including NHS staff, without a chance to buy essential items.
On the deal with the private hospitals, NHS CEO Simon Stevens said: “We’re dealing with an unprecedented global health threat and are taking immediate and exceptional action to gear up.”