According to leaked documents, the UK Government is reluctant to use “Plan B” because COVID restrictions may cost the economy up to £18 billion
As case levels in the UK continue to increase, official Government advice is to get as many people vaccinated as possible. Booster jab campaigns are rolling, with the push to vaccinate those above the age of 12 also ongoing.
Right now, over 8,000 people are in hospital with COVID and 942 deaths have been reported for the last seven days.
What is “Plan B”?
To be clear, Plan B is five months of mandatory mask wearing, the introduction of COVID passports, and official guidance to work-from-home. The documents suggest that this would cost between 11 and eight billion to the UK economy – mainly for businesses who will miss out on commuters.
In the wake of immense pressure on the NHS, health leaders are concerned that vaccination will not be enough to contain a new wave of COVID. They want the UK to step up and implement stricter measures.
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “We’ve heard the Secretary of State’s decision not to enact Plan B of the Government’s winter strategy and while we do not agree with him, we encourage him to keep reviewing the data and engaging with health leaders.”
British Medical Association Chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said: “The Government has taken its foot off the brake, giving the impression that the pandemic is behind us and that life has returned to normal.
“The reality today is an unacceptable rate of infections, hospitalisations and deaths, unheard of in similar European nations. In comparison to France, we have more than 10 times the number of cases and almost four times as many deaths per million.”
Will Plan B work if implemented?
Government analysis says no, health leaders say yes.
According to the documents obtained by Playbook, there is serious consideration about moving the country to “Plan B”.
The COVID-19 task force also suggest that COVID certification would be moderately helpful in reducing virus transmission, but only by 1-5%. The analysis further suggests that working from home wouldn’t have a huge impact on rising case rates.
Currently, it seems that Plan B is an unlikely next step. The recovery of the economy has been a dominating concern for the Government, especially as rumours of an early General Election continue to fly.