Coronavirus hospital wards are set to reopen in three weeks to combat the surge in covid cases, according to reports.
The Nightingale Hospitals created to help the NHS cope are said to be being prepared for new patients from October 2, doctors are believed to have been told unofficially.
Those who are helping the NHS by doing cancer screening and routine ultrasound tests are being readied for a second wave, it is claimed.
A consultant told the Sunday Mirror: “Plans are in place for Covid wards to be reopened to cope with a fast-rising rate of infections.
“More people are going back to work, schools are open and more people are socialising in spite of the new restrictions. We have to be ready.”
A spokesman for NHS England confirmed Nightingales “are on Covid standby” as the R rate is now as high as 1.7 – mean anyone with the virus is infecting up to 2 people and cases are doubling every two days.
But health officials will not confirm preparations are under way to re-open covid wards.
It comes as Boris Johnson announced plans to tighten restrictions on social gatherings, with Brits now limited to events of 6 people or less.
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The Prime Minister said the new set of lockdown measures aimed at combatting the spread of the virus and preventing a devastating second wave this winter.
Some areas of life will remain unchanged, including work, education and sport, but socialising with family and friends will take a hit.
There will be certain key exceptions where meeting in groups larger than six is allowed.
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Everyone lives together or is in the same support bubble, or for work and voluntary services, as well as childcare and education, will be unaffected.
Weddings, civil partnerships, baptisms, funerals, and other religious life-cycle ceremonies will still be able to go ahead, with up to 30 people able to attend.
Organised indoor and outdoor sports, physical activity and exercise classes are also allowed, meaning gyms should stay open.
NHS England has been contacted by Daily Star Online for comment.
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