What is Covid Plan B? PM urged to take next step ahead of looming ‘winter crisis’

Another lockdown possible in Boris' winter Covid plan

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The Covid pandemic has seen life change for millions across Britain and now in the face of rising cases ahead of a “winter crisis” many are calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to enact Plan B. The agenda was laid out by the PM earlier this year when he said such measures would only come into force if there was evidence the NHS could be overwhelmed. has compiled an explainer on what the Covid Plan B actually is and what it could mean for Britons.

What is Covid Plan B?

Covid Plan B is the Government’s Covid winter strategy which will be enacted if cases skyrocket and preventative lockdown restrictions need to be reintroduced in a bid to curb new infections. 

England has two proposals for the continuation of the Covid crisis: Plan A if the number of cases remains manageable and the Plan B will be enacted if the NHS starts to struggle.

Plan A includes the continuation of NHS Test and Trace and free PCR tests.

In addition, Plan A involves encouraging free flu jab take-up, reminding people to let in fresh air when meeting indoors and wearing face masks in crowded places.

If Plan A proves insufficient and authorities want to prevent “unsustainable pressure” on the NHS, the Government’s Plan B will come into force.

The measures involved at this stage include compulsory face coverings in some settings and asking people to work from home.

The introduction of vaccine passports is another key point of Plan B.

This stage can be enacted at short notice following “concerning” data trends relating to new infections, hospitalisations and deaths.

Scientific advisers claim it is important to monitor the number of hospitalisations, rapid rates of change in figures and overall state of the NHS.

NHS leaders are warning about a “winter crisis” with many health experts calling for Plan B to come into force now.

The head of the NHS Confederation said ministers must urgently implement sweeping “plan B” winter measures or derail efforts to tackle the backlog of five million patients.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation said immediate action is need to prevent the NHS “stumbling into a crisis” where elective care recovery would be jeopardised.

Mr Taylor told The Guardian: “We are right on the edge – and it is the middle of October.

“It would require an incredible amount of luck for us not to find ourselves in the midst of a profound crisis over the next three months.”

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Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has insisted there will not be another national lockdown despite rising cases.

His comments came two days after the UK saw the highest number of new infections since mid-July.

Mr Kwarteng told Sky News: “I think the conversation about restrictions on travel, restrictions on more lockdowns is completely unhelpful.”

He added: “We don’t want to go back into lockdown and further restrictions.”


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