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A SURGE in Covid cases could see Britain resort to its Plan B.
This could see the return of face masks, working from home and vaccine passports – but what else would it mean for Brits during the "challenging" winter season?
What is Plan B Covid in the UK?
The government has set out plans to tackle Covid over autumn and winter.
This contains the preferred Plan A, which will be followed if the number of infections remains manageable and the NHS is not overwhelmed, and Plan B, if the health service starts to struggle.
Plan A focuses on continuing with the vaccine roll-out.
This means offering it to healthy 12 to 15-year-olds, encouraging those who have not yet come forward to do so, and moving forward with the booster jab programme for those most at risk.
It will also encourage Brits to take up free flu jabs, as well as frequent testing, self-isolation when necessary and the NHS Covid Pass to check vaccination or test status.
Plan B on the other hand will mean the return of measures seen in the UK's various lockdowns.
This could include making face coverings and vaccine passports mandatory in certain locations, returning to working from home, and generally urging the public to behave more cautiously.
These plans apply to England only, though similar Covid Stable and Covid Urgent plans have been set out in Wales.
When could Plan B be introduced?
Boris Johnson has not confirmed a threshold for triggering Plan B.
It describes "unsustainable pressure" on the NHS as the trigger – though it does not detail what the health service can and cannot cope with.
Ministers have warned it could be implemented at very short notice following "concerning" data.
And government scientific advisers are monitoring the number of hospitalisations, any rapid or major changes in deaths or cases, and the overall state of the NHS.
Downing Street has warned of a "challenging winter" ahead – and experts fear the situation is worsening.
This is down to the "slow" booster jab roll-out and rising hospitalisations and daily cases, they said.
John Roberts, of the Covid-19 Actuaries Response Group said it may take until the end of January before all of the 22 million vulnerable people get their third shots.
As it stands, around 3.7 million of the 8.3 million eligible Brits have so far been given a booster.
'Professor Lockdown' Neil Ferguson said England is heading into the cold season with a "risky" level of Covid cases and urged ministers to prepare for Plan B.
And Professor Tim Spector, lead scientist behind the ZOE Covid Study App, said he wouldn't bother with Plan A at all.
But the PM's official spokesman said on October 18, 2021: "There is absolutely no plan to introduce Plan B currently.
"We retain that capability if required if we believe the NHS is coming under unsustainable pressure.
"We obviously keep very close watch on the latest statistics. We always knew the coming months would be challenging."
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