Britain could lockdown again as Boris Johnson confirms masks, home working and booster jabs all options in Winter Covid Plan

Britain could face going into lockdown again as Boris Johnson has confirmed masks, home working and vaccine passports are all options in his Winter Covid Plan.

The Prime Minister unveiled a series of contingency measures that could be imposed in England at short notice in the event of cases spiking.

Earlier the Health Secretary Sajid Javid laid out a five part plan to keep cases down, with a Plan A and Plan B.

Beyond the outlined contingency plans, the document containing the plans revealed a fourth lockdown remains a possibility.

Britain's Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty (left), Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) and Britain's Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance (centre) walk towards the door of No.9 Downing Street. Picture: Dan Kitwood-WPA Pool/Getty Images

Speaking at a Downing Street Press conference, Mr Johnson claimed the measures would "give us the confidence that we don't need to go back to the lockdowns of the past."

He said: “The result of this vaccination campaign is we have one of the most free societies and one of the most open economies in Europe.

“That’s why we’re now sticking with our strategy. In essence, we’re going to keep going.”

The Prime Minister's spokesman explained there was no metric for triggering restrictions including another lockdown.

He said: "As we did with the road map, we never looked to one single metric to decide when to act.

"It is important to take a holistic approach and consider a range of data."

Earlier Nadhim Zahawi said he was "cautiously optimistic" that England will get through the winter without the need for another lockdown.

Plan A includes issuing vaccine boosters, test and trace, investing £5billion into the NHS for the next six months, a flu jab campaign and keeping robust border controls.

A surge in Covid-19 cases this winter could see people in England ordered to wear face masks and show passes to prove their vaccination status under Plan B.

Under the plans, Booster jabs will be offered to those most at risk from the virus, while Ministers have also prepared a "Plan B" if measures are needed to prevent "unsustainable pressure" on the NHS.

Read More

Read More
Covid Scotland: Vaccines to be offered to 12-15 year olds from Monday

Mr Johnson also stressed that he could not “rule out completely” the possibility of imposing mandatory vaccine passports.

The Prime Minister said: “We do not see the need now to proceed, for instance, with mandatory certification.

“It’s just not sensible to rule out completely this kind of option now when we must face the fact that it might still make the difference between keeping business open at full capacity or not.

"Of course I understand the frustrations of people wondering whether or not they’re going to have to put this in, (and) at the moment we’re confident that you will be able to proceed without it.

“The reason for wanting to have this option is because it’s a choice between proceeding with Covid-19 certification or, sadly, once again asking places to close, and I certainly don’t want to do that.

“That’s why I think it’s a good idea to keep this in reserve.”

Speaking at the press conference the Prime Minister refused to give specific details on how bad a future wave of Covid-19 would have to get for the Government to impose its “plan B” restrictions.

He explained: “You wouldn’t necessarily play them all at once, far from it, you would want to do things in a graduated way.

“We’re now in a situation when because so many of the population have some degree of immunity, smaller changes in the way we’re asking people to behave can have a bigger impact.”

Proof of vaccination would be mandatory for nightclubs, crowded indoor venues with more than 500 attendees, crowded outdoor events with more than 4,000 people and any settings with more than 10,000 people.

Sir Patrick Vallance told the conference the best way to avoid future Covid-19 restrictions was to persuade the unvaccinated to get a jab.

He said: “Getting that immunity up means that the barrier against (Covid-19) rises is that much greater.

“If you think about where we are now with infection rates, and the openness that we’ve currently got, if you tried to do this six months ago, the number of cases and decimalisation would be through the roof.

“The immunity is really important to keep this down and allows lighter measures to be put in place to keep it under control”.

Sir Patrick also warned the UK is at a “pivotal point” and must “go early” if the situation worsens quickly.

He said:“If you look across the Channel, countries where you’ve got similar levels of immunity and some higher degrees of restrictions, what you can see is cases are going down.

“So, you can see we’re sort of at that pivot point where things are flattish at the moment.

“If they go up quickly then, as I’ve said, you’ve got to go early in terms of getting on top of it – you can’t wait until it’s late because you’ve got to do more.”

Mr Javid earlier told MPs: “The plan shows how we’ll give this nation the best possible chance of living with Covid without the need for stringent social and economic restrictions.

“We have seen how quickly this virus can adapt and change so we have prepared a Plan B of contingency measures that we can call upon only if they are needed and supported by the data to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS.”

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.


Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.