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Doctor warns ‘extremely difficult for symptomatic to isolate’ due to lack of support

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Dr Thomas House, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M), raised concerns over the shortcomings of the coronavirus response. Dr House warned there are “fundamental problems” the health system had to deal with.

He suggested the lack of financial support for those who contracted the virus and had to self-isolate could be one of the issues causing the number of cases to increase.

Dr House told BBC Newsnight: “It’s not just a case of we can wait another week and things will be good.

“There are more fundamental problems, and I think there are still problems beyond just timing without response to the pandemic.

“For example, it’s still extremely difficult for people who are asymptomatic and infectious to isolate.

“In a lot of cases they don’t have the support from their employer or the financial support needed.

“And that kind makes a mockery of the rest of us who have been staying at home when there are people who have had quite a high chance of being infectious and still have to go out to work.

“That’s just one example, I think there are a lot of other ways in which we can improve our pandemic response.”

He also pointed out that the NHS is “asked to run very close to capacity almost all of the time”.

Dr House’s remarks come after two NHS hospitals declared code black measures on Thursday due to a sharp increase in cases.

NHS Grampian announced that Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin, Moray have been forced to postpone and cancel non-urgent elective operations.

Professor Nick Fluck, NHS Grampian medical director, said: “This is a dynamic situation, subject to change throughout each day.

“I can confirm that both Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Dr Gray’s Hospital have been at black status in recent days.

“Choosing to cancel procedures or appointments is never a decision we take lightly; however it is our only option if we are to relieve some of the pressure and allow staff to concentrate on the most urgent and emergency care.

“I know it is distressing for people to have procedures or appointments postponed, sometimes at very short notice. I apologise to anyone who has been affected by this.”

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