Matt Hancock's predecessor as health secretary has called for the closure of schools "right away".
Jeremy Hunt, who was the longest-ever-serving health secretary and is now chairman of the Commons Health and Social Care Committee, has also called for the closure of borders and a ban on household mixing, as he warned that the pressures facing hospitals are "off-the-scale worse" than previous winter crises.
Time to act: thread on why we need to close schools, borders, and ban all household mixing RIGHT AWAY.— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) January 4, 2021
Mr Hunt wrote on Twitter: "Time to act: thread on why we need to close schools, borders, and ban all household mixing RIGHT AWAY.
Coronavirus: Call to close schools
"To those arguing winter is always like this in the NHS: you are wrong. I faced four serious winter crises as Health Sec and the situation now is off-the-scale worse than any of those.
"It's true that we often had to cancel elective care in Jan to protect emergency care but that too is under severe pressure with record trolley waits for the very sickest patients.
"Even more worryingly, fewer heart attack patients appear to be presenting in ICUs, perhaps because they are not dialling 999 when they need to.
"Full credit to NHS for keeping cancer services open but in Wave 1 there was still a 2/3 drop in cancer appts: people didn't come forward to GPs or want to go to hospitals, with many potentially avoidable cancer deaths. We hoped to avoid that this time but now looking unlikely."