Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed yesterday that other coronavirus the restrictions – which could include face coverings becoming mandatory in some public places – will not be introduced in England.
But the British Medical Association has warned that Plan B must be activated now, with rising infection rates putting pressure on the NHS.
BMA Chairman of the Board, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, added: “By the Health Secretary’s own admission, we could soon see 100,000 cases per day, and we now have the same number of weekly deaths from the disease. COVID only in March, when the country was in lockdown.
“So it is incredibly concerning that he is unwilling to take immediate action to save lives and protect the NHS. “
Under Plan B, people could also be asked to work from home again – and vaccine passports could be introduced in some places.
Dr Nagpaul said the government had “slipped on the brakes, giving the impression that the pandemic is behind us and life is back to normal.”
On the other hand, the doctor warned that COVID-19[feminine[feminine infections, hospital admissions and deaths are currently at an “unacceptable” level which is “unheard of in similar European countries”.
He said: ‘It is deliberately remiss of the Westminster government not to take any other action to reduce the spread of infection, such as mandatory mask wear, physical distancing and ventilation requirements in the environments. at high risk, especially overcrowded indoor spaces.
“These are measures that are standard in many other countries. “
Yesterday at a press conference in Downing Street, Mr Javid said the UK could see 100,000 cases of coronavirus a day – and he stressed the pandemic was ‘not over’.
“We must all remember that this virus will be with us in the long term and remains a threat to our loved ones, as well as a threat to the progress we have made in bringing our nation closer to normal life,” he said. he adds.
The UK on Wednesday recorded 49,139 new cases of COVID-19 – the eighth day in a row infections topped 40,000 – and 179 deaths within 28 days of testing positive.
Mr Javid said current COVID deaths “thankfully remain low” – a claim later questioned by a SAGE scientist – and the Health Secretary added he did not believe the current pressures on the NHS are ‘unsustainable’.
While he said Plan B would not be introduced in England at this point, the Health Secretary added: “We will remain vigilant, we will prepare for all eventualities, while strengthening our vital defenses which can help us. to fight against this virus. “
He then encouraged Britons to meet other people outdoors where possible, to voluntarily wear masks in crowded spaces, to take regular lateral flow tests and to receive a coronavirus booster shot. if they are eligible.
“If we all play our part, then we can give ourselves the best possible chance in this race, get through this winter and enjoy Christmas with our loved ones,” Mr. Javid said.
Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said the UK was entering the colder months with a ‘really high level’ of COVID cases.
She added: “What we can see is that the cases are now almost as high as they were in July and in fact not very far from where they were last winter. What we don’t see is that comes back down to the other side of the peak. “
Dr Harries went on to say, “Fortunately, this is not currently translating into serious illness and death. “
In other developments, Tony Blair calls on ministers to set a target of delivering 500,000 coronavirus boosters per day.
The former prime minister said the government must act “quickly and decisively” to avoid the need for another lockdown.
Its think tank, the Tony Blair Institute, has made 12 key recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
They include setting a 50% vaccination target for 12 to 15 year olds by December 1, approving vaccines for children under 12 as a priority, providing clear guidelines on vaccines for women pregnant women and ensuring that NHS lateral flow testing remains free and readily available. until the end of the pandemic.