The UK now has more COVID-19 patients in hospitals than it had in March when the national lockdown was introduced, the UK’s top medical professionals said in a televised briefing Monday morning.

The briefing was given by Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam along with Steve Powis, the medical director of England’s National Health Service, and Dr. Jane Eddleston, the Greater Manchester medical lead.

Van-Tam said: “The hospital admissions we have right now are related to infections we had three weeks ago.”

“It takes some time before people become ill enough to go into hospital and they don’t die the moment they arrive,” he added.

“The point I’m trying to make is there is a lag between cases and when we see hospital admissions and deaths rise.”

It was Powis who said the UK had more coronavirus patients now than in the spring.

Powis added that England was now approaching the same situation as France and Spain, where the virus is also surging and authorities are implementing more restrictions to stem the rising tide of cases.

He also said Nightingale hospitals in Manchester, Sunderland, and Harrogate are being readied to accept coronavirus patients.

The Nightingale hospitals were emergency hospitals set up in the spring to deal with extra coronavirus patients who could not be treated in normal hospitals due to capacity reasons.

Eddleston said 30% of critical care beds in Greater Manchester are being used for coronavirus patients, which helps improve services provided for other patients.

The briefing comes ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing a new lockdown system for England, as well as more intense restrictions in the north of England.

The UK on Sunday recorded 12,872 cases, taking overall infections to 603,716, while 65 more fatalities were registered, raising the death toll to 42,825.

In England, the total number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 reached 514,439, with 10,383 additions on Sunday, whereas the death toll hit 38,018 after 62 more people died due to the disease.

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