Coronavirus cases are rising again – but will there be another lockdown? Here’s what to expect:
From “Plan B” to vaccine passports.
there are currently “no plans” to use the contingency measures.So, what is “Plan B”? And what happens if “Plan B” isn’t enough to keep restrictions down? Here’s everything we know about the government’s plan at the moment. What is Covid “Plan B”?
Under the government’s “Plan B”, mandatory face masks, vaccine passports andwork from homeorders could return as restrictions are tightened.When it was first unveiled, Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the Commons that such contingency plans would only be activated if there was “unsustainable” pressure on the NHS and initial efforts to control the spread of the virus proved ineffective.
However, while health experts are now warning that such pressure is starting to build,to implement these measures, and has instead called on the public to wear masks, mix outdoors when possible and take regular lateral flow tests."Plan B" would see face masks become mandatory again. headtopics.com
Will there be another lockdown?While Boris Johnson didn’t rule out another lockdown during his 14 September briefing, this weekand that talk of lockdowns was “not helpful”.However, last month,the health secretary Sajid Javid acknowledgedthat he could not rule out the possibility – especially if a new vaccine escape variant was to emerge.
He told BBC Breakfast: “No one wants to see another lockdown, I certainly don’t. I don’t think we are going to need to see another lockdown. I think the vaccines are working.“But I think it would be irresponsible for any health minister in the world to say that this or that is 100% ruled out. Not least because I just don’t know whether at some time in the future – next year, the year after, the year after that – there might be a vaccine escape variant that doesn’t work with the current suite of vaccines.”
What have health experts called for?Despite the government’s insistence that now is not the time to take action, health experts have been speaking out about the pressure that the NHS is already facing, and called on those in power to take action as soon as possible.
Speaking toearlier this week, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said immediate action was required to prevent the NHS from “stumbling into a crisis” where the elective care recovery would be jeopardised.You may also like“It’s an achievement not to crash and burn”: the reality of being an NHS nurse during coronavirus headtopics.com
“We are right on the edge – and it is the middle of October,” he said. “It would require an incredible amount of luck for us not to find ourselves in the midst of a profound crisis over the next three months.“The government ought to not just announce that we’re moving to Plan B, but it should be Plan B plus. We should do what’s in Plan B in terms of masks… working from home, but also we should try to achieve the kind of national mobilisation that we achieved in the first and second waves, where the public went out of their way to support and help the health service.”
He continued: “We need that same sense of pulling together over the next few months, trying to avoid risky behaviour if it’s not necessary. This is not a question of if we don’t do it something might happen. If we don’t do it, it would take a miracle for us not to find ourselves in the midst of a really profound crisis in our health and social care system over the next three months.”
Health experts are calling for the kind of “national mobilisation” seen during the first and second lockdowns.Could there be a “Plan C”?Reports have emerged this week that ministers are considering a Covid “Plan C” should “Plan B” fail to bring down hospital admissions – but what would such a plan involve?
Evening Standard, “Plan C” would most likely mirror the ‘tier’ systems that were in place for much of last year. This means that a ban on household mixing could be added to the restrictions outlined under “Plan B”, but that pubs, restaurants and shops would remain open. headtopics.com
However, ministers have consistently denied the existence of a “Plan C” – indeed, during an interview on Sky News on Thursday morning,of any such plan.Where will vaccine passports apply?If “Plan B” is introduced, it’s looking likely that vaccine passports will be introduced in some settings. This is despite the fact that the idea of such passports provoked furious backlash from Tory MPs back in July.
AsStylistpreviously reported, under the plan, the passports would be applied to all nightclubs; all indoor, crowded settings with 500 or more people such as music venues; all outdoor settings with 4,000 or more people such as festivals; and any venue with 10,000 or more people, such as big sports matches.
The health secretary had previously confirmed plans to introduce Covid passports from October had been ditched, but in September the government acknowledged they might need to be implemented at short notice – and encouraged businesses to introduce them voluntarily.
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