Level 4 hospitals are canceling surgeries and preparing to send Covid patients elsewhere

Speaking on BBC Today on Wednesday, Professor Harrison said he was currently in a discussion about training hospitals at Oxford on sending critical patients to their “super centers”.

“Our intensive care unit here is full of all Covid patients, and that’s the nine beds available to us,” he said.

“If we see further growth, we have further capacities that we can request from neighboring organizations, which would mean relocating patients.

“What we’re going to do is make a clinical decision for patients who need more intensive care to see if there is a patient who can deviate from critical care or who needs relocation.”

Professor Harrison added: “Neither in the first nor in the second wave have we yet had to transfer any patients.”

From Boxing Day, Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Hampshire – with the exception of New Forest, and parts of Essex and Surrey will be moved to Tier 4.

The move means more than half of England’s population, 26 million people, will live under the strictest restrictions.

Ministers are also under pressure to impose a blockade across England against re-infections with Covid.