Responding to the latest test and trace figures, Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said: “Thanks to the efforts of NHS teams and especially primary care, vaccination is breaking the link between infections and deaths. But with test and trace figures showing the highest weekly number of people testing positive since the middle of February, and hospital cases at levels last seen in April and rising, the health service is still under huge pressure.
“Before the government takes its final decision on lifting the remaining restrictions, we would urge real caution, so that we do not lose the significant gains we have made in recent months and risk putting the ability of the NHS to overcome ever-growing treatment backlogs in jeopardy. This makes it all the more important for us all to get the second jab as soon as we are eligible, and to isolate for the required period when asked to do so.
“We must remember that deaths are not the only important outcome we need to measure. Long COVID also remains a big concern, as the latest ONS figures show nearly 1 million people were experiencing symptoms of the condition as of 6 June, which is putting more pressure on community services and primary care.”