Ventilator ‘rationing’ has begun in the UK as only patients with a ‘reasonable certainty’ of survival are to be put on the machines at a London hospital.
The UK coronavirus death toll has risen by 209 in 24 hours from 1,019 to 1,228, as infections jumped by 2,483 to 19,522.
Machines used to keep patients breathing are being restricted on medical grounds, not because of a lack of capacity, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust told the Daily Telegraph.
The trust said that ‘very poorly patients with coronavirus may need to be on a ventilator for extended periods’, adding that ‘for some patients, this would not be in their best interests’.
A senior consultant said: ‘As we learn more about the disease, we are being much more careful about which patients are being considered for critical care. In normal times we will give most people the benefit of the doubt. That has changed.’
There are now 19,522 confirmed cases nationwide, up from 17,089 yesterday.
It comes after a senior health chief warned that Britain must stay in total lockdown until June to properly prevent the full extent of the deadly coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the number of people in the UK who have been tested for coronavirus has now passed 125,000.