Warning to any Brits seeing grandparents over Christmas as Covid cases soar

BRITS have been warned to take extra safety precautions for the elderly and more vulnerable family members this winter as Covid cases begin to rise.

New figures suggest infections with the beetle rose above a million for the first time since late October, while Scotland and Wales both saw increases.

The new BQ1 Omicron variant is fueling the new wave of new cases this Christmas

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The new BQ1 Omicron variant is fueling the new wave of new cases this ChristmasPhoto credit: Getty

NHS GP Philippa Kay has said the rise in Covid cases coupled with the rise in flu is “very worrying”.

Flu hospitalizations in England have doubled in just a week as the NHS braces for one of the worst outbreaks of the virus in years.

She urged those unwell to stay away from grandparents over the holiday season.

“Although we’ve all been looking forward to the holidays for a long time, in light of the pandemic it’s still important not to spread infection, be it Covid, flu or any other virus,” the GP told The Sun.

“If you have a fever or are too unwell to do what you would normally do in a day, then you are too unwell to see relatives,” she explained.

Sadik Al-Hassan, a Bath-based pharmacist, has advised those visiting elderly or vulnerable relatives this winter to take extra safety precautions.

“Use hand gel before and after the visit and wear a face mask if you can,” Sadik told The Sun.

“And if you’re a little under the weather, make sure you’re getting plenty of fluids, rest, vitamins C and D,” he added.

A new Covid variant known as BQ1 Omicron is driving the new wave of new cases coming into Christmas.

The surge could not come at a worse time as the backlog of people awaiting surgery hits 7.2 million and nurses across the country are on strike for better pay.

Data from the Office for National Statistics suggests 1.3 million Britons had the virus in the week ending December 5.

This is an increase of 16 percent from 1.1 million in the previous week.

However, deaths from Covid have fallen, with 402 recorded in the seven days to December 10.

Covid vaccinations and boosters are still freely available in the UK and are the best source of protection against the effects of the virus.

The majority of infections are found in those aged 25 to 34, with 2.9 per cent likely to have the virus – equivalent to one in 35.

The surge in infections is likely being caused by people mingling more indoors, health experts said, and comes as other wintertime viruses become more widespread.

During the main waves of the coronavirus in early 2022, the total peaked at almost four million in July and just under five million in March.

Michelle Bowen, head of health surveillance at ONS, said infections have started to rise again in “most of the UK”, although “the trend varies across English regions and age groups”.

“We will continue to monitor the data carefully over the course of the winter months,” she added.

The latest figures suggest Britain is poised for its third consecutive winter with the emergence of Covid-19.

But unlike 2020 and 2021, when the coronavirus was the leading cause of illness and hospitalizations, other viruses are becoming more prevalent this winter.

For the first time since the pandemic began, more people are being hospitalized with flu than with Covid, data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) suggests.

The worrying figures show that flu rates are more than double among those most at risk for the virus – children under five and adults aged 85 and over.

dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, immunization and countermeasures consultant epidemiologist at the UKHSA, said: “We are seeing a surge in flu, Covid and other winter viruses as people mix more indoors this winter.

“Covid hospitalizations are highest in the oldest age groups, so it is particularly important that all eligible individuals continue to come in to receive their booster shots.

“If you are feeling unwell this winter please try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people, especially the elderly or vulnerable – this will help prevent the spread of the infection.”

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The NHS is also dealing with an outbreak of Strep A – which has killed 19 children so far.

The rise in cases is putting a huge strain on the NHS 111 and pharmacists as shortages of penicillin and other antibiotics are reported across the UK.

https://www.the-sun.com/health/6946432/grandparents-christmas-covid-warning/ Warning to any Brits seeing grandparents over Christmas as Covid cases soar

Emma James

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