Question Time: Plan B restrictions 'a diversion' says Portillo
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Covid is currently making a comeback in the UK via the Omicron variant – a strain capable of dodging immunity afforded by both Covid vaccines. The Government has asked MPs to approve ‘Plan B’ measures tomorrow, including Covid passports and enhanced self-isolation. If these pass through the House of Commons but ultimately fail to contain the new Covid wave, they may require several new measures.
What is ‘Plan C’?
Plan C currently exists primarily as a rumour, not an official policy.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman has confirmed there is no plan to “go beyond what we’ve set out already”.
He did confirm the Government has backup options beyond recent proposals, however.
They said they have “an array” of options available “in terms of what measures we can take to mitigate a growth of any variant or virus”.
Any further restrictions will likely intensify current proposals or follow what public health specialists have proposed.
Dr Eleanor Gaunt, a virologist at the University of Edinburgh, told the i paper the Government should follow European restrictions.
She said extending vaccine passports could count as one vital measure, and ministers should require them in “every public setting that could become a transmission hotpot”.
Dr Gaunt added the number of incoming cases could also result in mass self-isolation.
She added that “lots of people” would have to isolate themselves following contact with Omicron.
The disease, Dr Gaunt said, is “incredibly transmissible”.
People are unlikely to hear anything about a Plan C for some time, as Plan B is not yet functional.
When could Boris Johnson announce Plan C?
The Government is yet to fully implement Plan B, as it is awaiting MPs’ approval.
As such, it is likely too soon for ministers to understand whether they will prove effective.
They traditionally leave three weeks to review Covid restrictions, meaning the next decision could come in early January.
Ministers are relying on the UK’s vaccine programme to tackle Omicron, as boosters appear to provide protection the other two do not.
Early research suggests it could help prevent 75 percent of cases if administered following the initial two jabs.
Speaking on Sunday, the Prime Minister pledged to offer all British adults a booster by the new year.
If the NHS can accomplish this and cases go down enough, the Government may not require further restrictions.
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