The UK is dealing with around 40,000 cases every day, but the government is currently hopeful that precautionary measures, known as ‘Plan B’ will not have to be introduced
Image: PHILIP COBURN)
A contingency plan for rising cases of the coronavirus has been called for to reduce the amount of people catching the virus ahead of the Christmas period.
The UK government has so far insisted that it does not wish to go down the route of any more restrictions, instead preferring to encourage people to get the first or second dose of their vaccine, or the booster.
Plan B is a contingency plan to try and bring cases down, but health secretary Sajid Javid is playing down the chances of it happening.
But the winter may force their hand and experts might just conclude that this is the ideal situation for keeping the rising in hand.
Experts are also calling for some restrictive measures to increase social distancing to be reintroduced.
Viruses in winter are already a problem and high cases of Covid-19 puts the stretched health service under strain.
The seven-day average for cases across the UK is now around the 40,000 mark, though this is lower than the end of October, it is not ideal for the NHS.
England’s deputy chief medical office warned there will be “hard months to come in the winter”.
Countries around the world are also experiencing a rise in cases. German chancellor Angela Merkel admitted the country is in the midst of a new wave, while Austria began a ten-day lockdown on Monday.
Boris Johnson currently has no plans to do the same. But what would plan B look like?
What would close if plan B was introduced?
It is unlikely anything would actually close. These plans are not a lockdown.
The government says plan B “prioritises measures which can help control transmission of the virus while seeking to minimise economic and social impact.”
Lockdown meant that a huge hit to the economy occurred and many different businesses and sectors had to shut down completely, while staff were furloughed.
Plan B will recommend that people work from home, so some business may choose to temporarily close their offices, but bars and restaurants will likely not want to close.
People will also recognise some measures put in place as akin to some of those put in place in lockdown.
Would restaurants, bars and shops remain open during Covid plan B?
Yes. Or at least there currently don’t seem to be any plans to the contrary.
But the effects of plan B would be unknown, it may mean that some people are discouraged from going out and some in the already heavily hit hospitality sector have warned against this.
The government would be keen not to see such a hit to its economy and local economies across the UK with the introduction of plan B measures.
They may change this at the time when, and if, they introduce plan B measures, but currently they will not close.
Face coverings will become compulsory, but exactly in what setting is again unclear. It may well include in restaurants, bars and most likely in shops.
What else does the government’s Covid Plan B involve?
Like shops, face coverings will also have to be worn on public transport, as well as in hospitals if the measures are introduced.
The public will be clearly communicated to and people will be encouraged to act more cautiously.
College and secondary school staff and pupils will have to test regularly.
A “contingency framework” exists for schools, where cases are monitored locally and would reintroduce compulsory mask-wearing if need be.
There will also be mandatory ‘vaccine-only’ Covid-19 status certification in certain settings liked nightclubs, crowded indoor and outdoor settings and any setting with 10,000 or more attendees like football matches.