London, Nov 29 (IANS) Hospitals in England might risk being overwhelmed by coronavirus cases without the new, tougher tier system, a senior UK official has warned.
In an article published on Saturday in the Times newspaper, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove urged MPs to “take responsibility for difficult decisions” to bring the pandemic under control, reports Xinhua news agency.
Gove said if the second lockdown, the month-long restrictions which will end on December 2, were not imposed a month ago, the coronavirus crisis would have “broken” the National Health Service (NHS), with hospitals “physically overwhelmed every bed, every ward occupied”.
Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a “tougher” tiered system of coronavirus restrictions to replace England’s current lockdown, the second of its kinds since the onset of the pandemic, when it ends on December 2.
Gove stressed that the new tiered system is necessary as “we cannot unlearn the difficult lesson”.
The previous restrictions were not tough enough as infection levels remained threateningly high, he noted.
The proposed tiered system is scheduled to face a vote by MPs in the House of Commons (lower house of parliament) on Tuesday.
The remarks came as a further 479 deaths were reported in the UK on Saturday, bringing the total to 58,030.
There were also a further 15,871 positive cases registered in the past 24 hours, which increased the overall infection tally to 1,609,141.