Covid-19: Plan B Measures, Winter Lockdown & The Omicron Variant

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Sajid Javid, said at news conference last night (20th October), that the government would not be introducing plan B measures, adding that, “Don’t get me wrong, there are huge pressures, especially in A&E, in primary care. If we feel at any point it’s becoming unsustainable […] we won’t hesitate to act.”

However, Dr. Nagpaul from the BMA has accused this approach of being “wilfully negligent,” saying that some of these measures, including compulsory face coverings, social distancing and ventilation requirements in “high-risk settings” were “the norm in many other nations”.

The NHS Confederation has also publicly called for the government to enact plan B measures to avoid “stumbling into winter crisis.”

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation said, “The NHS is preparing for what could be the most challenging winter on record and it will do everything it can to make sure its services are not disrupted but these outside pressures are not solely within its gift to influence. 

“As cases of coronavirus continue to climb, alongside other demands on the health service and pressure on staff capacity in both the NHS and social care, leaders are worried about what could be around the corner.”

He added, “The government should not wait for COVID infections to rocket and for NHS pressures to be sky high before the panic alarm is sounded.

“Additional investment has been given to the NHS to support its recovery and leaders are committed to putting that to best use as rightly, the public expects a return on its investment but if the government fails to get a grip on the rising cases of coronavirus and other illness, this could be put at risk.”

Will there be a winter lockdown? 

Appearing on BBC Breakfast earlier this year, Health Minister Edward Argar said the NHS was not under the kind of “unsustainable pressure,” which would justify further restrictions. 

He said (via BBC News) there are currently 95,000 beds in NHS hospitals, with 7,000 occupied by Covid patients and 6,000 currently empty, adding that, “We know how those numbers can rise swiftly, which is why we’re looking at that day by day, hour by hour. But at the moment we do have the ability to manage. 

When asked on Sky News whether the UK could face another lockdown, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said, “I would rule that out,” adding that “I think the conversation about restrictions on travel, restrictions on more lockdowns is completely unhelpful.”

He was then asked about the fact that government ministers said the same thing this time last year, right before we had another lockdown, to which he responded, “This time last year we didn’t have the vaccine. We don’t want to go back into lockdown and further restrictions.”

For more from Glamour UK’s Lucy Morgan, follow her on Instagram @lucyalexxandra.

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