Coronavirus cases are currently surging in the UK. But, despite concerns from health experts across the country, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced there is still no need to introduce COVID ‘plan B measures.
Currently, the Government is relying on COVID vaccines to keep the UK from seeing restrictions over the Christmas period. However, Health Secretary Sajid Javid warned that the UK could still see up to 100,000 new coronavirus cases each day.
Due to the rise in cases and concerns of NHS strains, Directors of Public Health (DPH) in some UK areas have advised residents to introduce stricter ‘plan B’ measures regardless of Government hesitancy.
A dozen areas urged to get ahead with ‘plan B’ restrictions
Residents in Liverpool, Windsor, and Suffolk, are among those urged to work from home and wear face masks in public spaces. Alice Wiseman, the DPH for Gateshead, explained to The Guardian:
Taking basic precautions now like wearing face masks, working from home where possible and keeping indoor spaces well ventilated could help us to avoid returning to more disruptive restrictions.
Wiseman continued: ‘So although mandatory measures are not yet being introduced, I’d urge all of our communities to pull together and take these simple but effective steps now. They’re actions which cause minimal inconvenience for individuals but collectively will make a big difference in reducing the spread of Covid, flu and other seasonal illnesses – which, together, could stretch our NHS beyond its limit.’
Liverpool City Council has also asked residents to work from home when possible. Meanwhile, students have been recommended to adopt masks in communal spaces, with the exception of classrooms. Local DPH Matthew Ashton stated:
It is time now that we take additional steps locally to prevent a winter crisis, so that we can keep our critical services going.
Schools in Devon, Cornwall, Bolton, Suffolk and Walsall have also been encouraged to bring in ‘plan B’ mask measures.
Government still leaning on vaccines to get through the winter
The World Health Organisation has previously acknowledged that vaccines may not be enough to pull the world out of the COVID pandemic. Spokesperson Margaret Harris explained to Times Radio: ‘The problem is focusing on one thing, the vaccine isn't going to get us out of this. We really have to do other measures.’
We have got to be serious about not crowding. We have still got to be looking at wearing the masks, when you're indoors particularly.
However, so far, the Government is still relying on vaccinations to prevent extra measures from being implemented over the winter. Boris Johnson reiterated:
We've made phenomenal progress, but our job isn't finished yet, and we know that vaccine protection can drop after six months. To keep yourself, your loved ones, and everyone around you safe, please get your booster when you get the call.
The country saw over 50,000 COVID cases this week, prompting an NHS letter urging the Government to immediately introduce extra COVID restrictions in some settings to prevent a ‘winter crisis.’
But, in lieu of NHS pleas, Sajid Javid explained that ‘plan B’ measures weren’t yet needed and urged residents to get fully jabbed and encouraged those eligible to take up booster and third shot offers.
Although Javid also warned that ‘plan B’ may have to be implemented if people failed to get vaccinated and, up to 100,000 cases per day could also be expected over the colder months.