Schools U-turn and rising Covid cases crush hopes of new year easing

London’s Nightingale hospital expected to take patients as NHS struggles with number of severely ill people

Government hopes for a new year easing of the Covid pandemic are unravelling, with ministers forced into a U-turn on reopening primary schools and hospitals across the country struggling with rising numbers of severely ill patients.

As the crisis escalates, the Nightingale hospital built in London’s ExCeL centre is expected to take Covid patients next week, for the first time since the spring.

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