Government delay has exacerbated the NHS Covid crisis. We need a lockdown now | Claudia Paoloni

Within a few days we are likely to surpass 26,500 coronavirus patients in hospital – the point at which all additional capacity will be used up

  • Dr Claudia Paoloni is president of HCSA, the hospital doctors’ union

Yet again the government has been caught flat-footed by Covid-19, moving too slowly in the face of the impending inferno. In Australia, when there is a wildfire in the bush, they cut a firebreak many miles ahead and deep enough to prevent the fire spreading. The government’s approach to the pandemic is more akin to gentle pruning as the flames lick ever higher all around.

Instead of acting weeks ago, when impending crisis became apparent, we have had a familiar exercise in dithering and delay. Hospital staff and their patients are now paying the price. The grim, inevitable rise in cases this week will mean already overwhelmed A&E departments will soon enter uncharted territory.

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