What is UK Government's Plan B for rising Covid cases in England?

By Robbie Purves

In a briefing outlining its plans to contain Covid-19 during the autumn and winter months in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined what could be in store.

The speech included a Plan A and Plan B, with Plan B only being deployed, should Covid-19 cases surge in England with the danger of overwhelming the NHS. However, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is to expect the worst and prepare for it. These measures will only apply to England. According to Health Secretary Sajid Javid Plan A will:

  • Encourage the unvaccinated to be jabbed
  • Offer vaccination to 12 to 15-year-olds
  • Begin a booster jab programme for millions, including over 50s

READ MORE: Covid morning updates as experts warn hospital admissions in England could soon hit 7,000 a day

The Sage committee expect cases to steadily rise in the coming months, despite over 81% of UK adults now being fully vaccinated.

Now that almost all Covid-19 restrictions have been eased, however, it leaves six million citizens unvaccinated and vulnerable to the highly contagious Delta variant.

Plan A continues to encourage businesses to use the NHS Covid Pass app to check the vaccination status of customers.

This is despite the Government scraping recent plans to enforce vaccination passports at public gatherings.

Along with the use of the app, major testing, tracing and self-isolating programmes will continue.

What is Plan B?

What the Government describes as their 'last resort', Plan B features more radical steps to halt an autumn/winter case surge.

Unlike in Scotland and Wales, face masks have not been mandatory in English shops and on public transport since 19 July.

But the rolling out of Plan B could see them return with a legal mandate.

According to the Government, measures may include:

  • Asking the public to act more cautiously, which appears to be a vague reference to using 'common sense'
  • Introducing mandatory vaccine passports, used for the likes of nightclubs, pubs, restaurants and sporting events
  • Legally requiring face masks in 'some settings'

Despite the formulation of these plans, travel industry experts are expecting the Government to ease restrictions on international movement.

Potentially removing the current traffic light system, that assigns every nation a colour based on Covid-19 infection risk.

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