Here are the latest figures on staff absences in the NHS, amid a worsening self-isolation crisis that has depleted key workforces across the country.
The issue is being compounded by a lack of lateral flow tests, two of which are required to escape self-isolation at seven days instead of ten under new Government rules designed to get people back to work earlier.
Now calls are growing for health workers and other key workers to be prioritised for Covid tests to avoid a chaotic return to work in January.
Across England as a whole, 24,632 NHS staff at hospital trusts were absent due to Covid-19 reasons on December 26, up 31 per cent from 18,829 a week earlier and nearly double the number at the start of the month (12,508).
In London alone, a total of 4,580 NHS staff at hospital trusts were absent for Covid-19 reasons on December 26, up 18 per cent on the previous week (3,874) and nearly four times the number at the start of the month (1,174), according to new figures from NHS England.
The number reached as high as 5,994 on December 23. The total includes staff who were ill with coronavirus or who were having to self-isolate.