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‘Plan C’ COVID response is urgent, doctors say

Published on 21/10/21 at 11:34am

UK Ministers are considering the implementation of a COVID ‘Plan C’. Cabinet Office officials are said to be discussing proposals which could form part of the measures. This plan would see a restriction on gatherings among different households.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid warned on Wednesday that cases may reach as high as 100,000 a day this winter. Javid insisted that the government will not be implementing contingency measures of Plan B “at this point”. The British medical Association (BMA) has accused the Health Secretary of being “willfully negligent” following the statement.

Javid has encouraged booster jabs to avoid the implementation of winter restrictions, stating its purpose is “not just to save lives, but to keep your freedoms too”.

The steep rise in cases and deaths on Tuesday has increased calls for the implementation of Plan B measures. On Wednesday over 49,000 new cases were reported. The UK also currently faces 1000 hospitalisations a day. Health leaders have warned that the UK risks a fourth wave unless tougher measures are enacted now. Plan B could see the return of restrictions such as mandatory face masks, working from home, and powers to introduce vaccine passports.

The current strategy in operation is Plan A, involving booster jabs and single vaccine doses offered to 12 to 15-year-olds, alongside encouraging indoor ventilation, hand-washing and face masks in crowded areas. Around 8 million people are currently eligible for their COVID booster jabs, though only 3.7 million of those eligible have had the third vaccination. 50% of those aged 80 and over have received this booster dose, in contrast with only 8.3% of 65 to 69 year-olds. Statistics from September to October suggest that unvaccinated individuals over the age of 50 are almost 5 times as likely to be admitted to hospital with COVID-19 that fully vaccinated individuals. The NHS is opening pop-up clinics to encourage people to book their injections.

Ana Ovey

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