Military helicopters could be used within days to airlift coronavirus patients from the Isle of Wight, the island’s medical director has said, after an “astronomical” rise in infections fuelled by mixing and visitors over Christmas.
A 71-fold increase in cases means the Isle of Wight has the 13th highest infection rate in the UK this week, from having one of the lowest in early December.
The county of 141,606 people recorded 1,871 new cases in the first 10 days of January – 43% of its total since the pandemic began. Hospital admissions and deaths are rising sharply.
Stephen Parker, the medical director of the Isle of Wight NHS trust, said he was planning “unthinkable options”, including evacuating Covid-19 patients to the mainland as the island’s small hospital treated a four-fold increase in people with the disease since Christmas Day.