Gov: Tough weeks ahead, but the country is moving towards living with covid


That country is moving towards a phase where it can “live with Covid”, Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said, as the government faced pressure from Tory lawmakers to ease up.

Mr Gove acknowledged there would still be “tough weeks ahead” with the NHS facing real pressure, and it was not yet possible to say that the current Omicron-driven wave of Covid-19 cases was coming to an end.

The leveling up secretary, who was one of the voices around the cabinet table arguing for tougher measures when Omicron emerged, said the easing of restrictions should be guided by science, but “the sooner the better”. .

Mr Gove said lateral flow tests are “as long as we need to” and “they are an important tool to ensure that we can stop the spread of infection and also that people who need to be isolated are do so”.

He told Sky News: “We are going to a situation – we are not yet – but we are going to a situation where it is possible to say that we can live with Covid, and that the NHS and important But public services are ending under pressure.”

Starting Monday, daily lateral flow testing has begun to be offered to nearly 100,000 critical workers to help spot and isolate asymptomatic cases and limit the risk of outbreaks in key workplaces.

A further 141,472 cases were announced on Sunday, the fifth consecutive drop – however, this number should be treated with caution as reports often drop over the weekend.

Figures from NHS England showed 16,399 hospital beds were occupied by patients with COVID-19 on Sunday, of whom 704 required mechanical ventilation.

Mr Gove told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “It is the case that we are in the next two or three weeks – perhaps longer – facing real pressure on the NHS, and at this point our first responsibility is to support the NHS. Have to do it.”

(PA Graphics) , PA Graphics

But after the current “tough period”, Mr Gove said he expected “better times ahead”.

“There are other coronaviruses that are endemic and that we live with – viruses evolve in a way that makes them less harmful but more widespread.