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Concerns over rise in over-50s hospitalised with Covid

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  • Nadhim Zahawi
    British politician (born 1967)

There is “concern” over the number of over-50s being hospitalised with Covid-19 is rising, Nadhim Zahawi has said.

But despite increasing numbers of people in this age group in hospital with the virus, the Education Secretary insisted the data does not currently indicate further Covid measures are needed in England.

The politician gave his reassurance during his appearance on Sky News on Monday.

Mr Zahawi said: “The numbers of people in hospital with coronavirus have begun to rise in the over-50s, which we are concerned about, but on the whole, actually the number of people in ICU [intensive care] has come down, which is good news.”

He added: “If we see more leakage of infection in the over-50s - because most of the surge in infections from the Omicronvariant has been in the under-50s - then that is more likely that those people end up with severe infection and hospitalisation.

“But the good news is obviously that 90 per cent of those people over 50 have had the booster jab - that is the real protection against severe infection and hospitalisation.

“So, at the moment there’s nothing in the data to suggest we need to go further but of course, we will look at the Wednesday review and then beyond that keep monitoring the data very carefully.”

The latest data publicly available from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), released on December 31, shows hospital admission rates increased in people aged 75 years and over and those aged 15-24 in the week up to 19 December.

But the latest figures showed the numbers decreased or remained similar in all other age groups, in the week up to 19 December.

Data for the public is normally released on Fridays and covers the week beforehand but Mr Zahawi said he sees the daily figures.

Official figures show a further 137,583 new COVID cases and 73 coronavirus-related deaths were reported in England and Wales on Sunday.

That is a drop from the previous day’s record number of daily cases at 162,572 in England alone.

Ministers are set to review Plan B measures on Wednesday as guidance remains for people to work from home and face masks are compulsory in most indoor settings.

It comes after Cabinet Office minister Stephen Barclay said fresh restrictions were not necessary on Sunday.

Later that evening, a hospital trust in Lincolnshire declared a critical incident due to “significant staffing pressures due to absence related to Covid-19”.

Public sector officials are being ordered to test crisis plans for worst-case scenarios which include planning for up to a quarter of workforces being absent.

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