Pandemic will not simply ‘disappear on 19 July’, warn nurses

The Royal College of Nursing has called for the continuation of public mask-wearing and better protection for frontline workers.

James McKay
7 July 2021
Protective medical face mask and latex gloves. Personal protective equipment shortage concept. Coronavirus, covid 19 prevention

Health workers and members of the public will continue to be at risk after 19 July.

Nursing staff have warned the public that the Pandemic will not simply “disappear on 19 July” as many pandemic measures are set to be relaxed.

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The government has announced that 19 July will bring an end to many pandemic measures, including mask-wearing and social distancing, despite a steady increase in COVID-19 cases.

However, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has warned that health workers and members of the public will continue to be at risk after 19 July.

The College has called for the continuation of public mask-wearing and better protection for frontline workers.

A significant risk.

Official statistics reveal that COVID-19 weekly cases in England are up 74% on the previous seven days, while the number of people admitted to hospitals in England with Covid-19 rising by 55% over the last week.

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Jude Diggins, RCN Interim Director of Nursing, Policy and Public Affairs, said: “When COVID-19 cases are soaring across the UK, we must not lose the benefits of a successful vaccine programme to rash decisions. We must continue to protect our most vulnerable and frontline workers.

“This disease does not disappear on 19 July. No available vaccine is 100% effective.

“COVID-19 will remain a significant risk to the public’s health and health care workers. Public mask-wearing is straightforward and well-established – the government will regret the day it sent the wrong signal for political expediency.”

Higher level of PPE.

Since late 2020, the RCN has been calling for a higher level of PPE for nursing staff. Last week, new research confirmed that wearing FFP3 face masks can considerably reduce the risk of health care workers becoming infected with COVID-19.

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“After these steps to reduce restrictions, nursing staff need even greater protection than they have been afforded to date – they still need higher-grade masks,” added Jude.

“Political announcements must not cause yet more confusion in the health service and we will need clarity around public health measures.”

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