If a spike in cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) threatens to overwhelm the National Health Service (NHS), Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that his government may bring back mandatory face masks, advise people to work from home (WFH), and make use of vaccine passports mandatory.
Johnson told a news conference on Tuesday that he thought a stronger vaccination campaign, which would begin next week and include booster injections for over-50s and vaccinations for youngsters as young as 12, will be adequate to keep Covid-19 under control.
The winter plan has been divided into two parts — Plan A and Plan B. Under Plan A, which was announced by health secretary Sajid Javid, ministers will encourage the unvaccinated people to take the vaccine dose, provide vaccines to children between 12-15 years and start a booster program for millions. The plan will also comprise continuing testing, tracing infections, and self-isolating those who have Covid-19, it added.
Under plan B, compulsory vaccine passports might be used for mass events, face masks might be legally mandated in some places, people will be urged to be more cautious and might also be advised to work from home, the above report also said. However, this plan will only be imposed if the NHS is under pressure.
The UK has so far recorded 7,282,810 cases, 134,446 deaths and 5,847,593 recoveries due to the coronavirus disease. On Tuesday, the country saw another high of 26,628 new cases. Despite the daily tally remaining high, the government has regarded the current pandemic pressure on the NHS as “manageable”.
England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty, said during Tuesday’s press conference that while Covid-19 cases had stabilized to some extent, the UK is approaching the most difficult part of the year, adding the number of infected patients is “drifting up” and variable across the country. “We are entering the winter with this reasonably high level and it wouldn’t take many doubling times to get into trouble,” Whitty further said.
Meanwhile, a person, on the condition of anonymity, told Bloomberg that the government might bring back the legislation to enforce a regional or national lockdown in the UK as a last resort.