The coronavirus epidemic could see up to 7.9 million people requiring hospital treatment in the next 12 months, according to a Leaked document seen by Sky News.
The document also confirms that healthcare workers who have symptoms of COVID-19 would not necessarily all be tested.
“Laboratory capacity is growing steadily but remains under significant demand pressures,” it said.
Dr Susan Hopkins, deputy director of national infection service, said: “PHE used reasonable worse-case scenario figures, to restate the importance for people with symptoms to stay at home, including health care workers in order to reduce the spread of the virus.”
The document says the virus could circulate until next spring.
Chief medical officer Chris Witty has previously said up to 80% of the population could catch the virus in a worst-case scenario.
The leaked document adds that “up to 15% [7.9 million people] may require hospitalisation”.
The figures bring into stark focus the challenge the NHS will face in the coming months.
A doctor, who did not want to be named, said the current intensive care system was “adequate for day-to-day but not really equipped for the expected epidemic”.
Boris Johnson is now being accused of hiding the real catastrophe that is about to happen from the British public.
The revelations in this leaked document carry a reality no one is ready for.