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Covid: What is the Plan B for winter and how is the Government planning to avoid another lockdown?

·2-min read
Covid: What is the Plan B for winter and how is the Government planning to avoid another lockdown?

Official figures show the UK recorded 49,156 coronavirus cases on 18 October - the highest number since mid-July.

A further 45 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were also reported.

Despite acknowledging the rising number of cases, Downing Street said the Cabinet did not discuss rolling out Plan B of the Covid Autumn and Winter Plan.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “It remains the case we would only look to use that if the pressure on the NHS was looking to become unsustainable.”

Earlier in the year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out his Covid Plan for Autumn and Winter.

What is the Government’s Plan A for winter?

Under the Government’s Covid-19 Response: Autumn and Winter Plan, booster jabs for the over-50s and other vulnerable groups will be rolled out.

The first dose of the vaccine will also be offered to 12 to 15-year-olds and those who are unvaccinated.

Plan A also includes:

  • The continuation of NHS Test and Trace and free PCR tests.

  • Encouraging free flu jab take-up.

  • Reminding people to let in fresh air when meeting indoors and to wear face coverings in crowded places.

The Government has also prepared a Plan B for England if coronavirus data suggests the NHS is "likely to come under unsustainable pressure" over the winter.

He added the Government hopes not to have to implement Plan B.

What is the Government’s Plan B for winter?

The Government has said Plan B "prioritises measures which can help control transmission of the virus while seeking to minimise economic and social impact”.

This would include:

  • Communicating clearly and urgently to the public the level of risk has increased and with it the need to behave more cautiously.

  • Introducing mandatory vaccine-only COVID-status certification in certain settings such as nightclubs, crowded indoor and outdoor settings and any setting with 10,000 or more attendees.

  • Legally mandating face coverings in certain settings which will be decided at the time.

In addition the Government would also consider asking people to work from home again, if they can, for a limited period.

But it recognised “this causes more disruption and has greater immediate costs to the economy and some businesses than the other Plan B interventions, so a final decision would be made based on the data at the time”.

What is the Government’s Plan C?

Ministers are considering a Covid “Plan C” that would see household mixing banned alongside the reintroduction of advice to work from home and vaccine passports, according to reports.

Officials at the Cabinet Office are understood to be mulling tighter restrictions should “Plan B” fail to bring down hospital admissions, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Under the plans, pubs, restaurants and shops would remain open.

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