Yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson took to Downing Street in a press conference, announcing the country’s ‘Plan A’ and ‘Plan B’ on tackling coronavirus over autumn and winter.
The government’s new plans of action hope to prevent significant restrictions in England such as lockdowns, business closures, as well as mandatory face coverings, vaccine passports and work-from-home advice. However, the latter three measures will be kept on the table to ‘prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS.’
What is ‘Plan A’?
The Prime Minister took no hesitation in warning that coronavirus is ‘still a risk’, and Plan A, focusing on vaccinations, testing, and self-isolation, is necessary to prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that Plan A would include a booster jab programmeintended for around 30 million people including those over 50, frontline workers, and younger residents with health conditions.
Plan A will also continue to encourage Brits to get vaccinated against the virus and will introduce jabs for older school children between the ages of 12 and 15. Jabs for children hope to begin by the 22nd of September, with parental consent being sought for school-based vaccination programmes.
COVID testing, tracing of cases and self-isolation for those who test positive will also continue to be implemented under the winter Plan A strategy. Additionally, businesses will also be able to use the NHS COVID Pass to check customers’ vaccine or test status before permitting entry.
What is ‘Plan B’?
The PM was confident that vaccine schemes outlined in Plan A would help England preserve the progress already made and hoped that jabs would allow Britain to remain ‘one of the most free societies’ in Europe.
But, when asked what would push the country to move to Plan B, Boris announced that risks, hospital pressure, and the state of the virus would all factor into the decision.
Sajid Javid revealed Plan B measures as those ‘that we can call upon only if they are needed and supported by the data to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS.’
Plan B, which will only come into play if further measures are needed to assist the NHS, involves the infamousvaccine passport scheme for nightclubs and large scale events.
The scheme was initially set to be introduced by the end of September. However, Sajid Javid announced an abrupt u-turn on the decision on Sunday. While vaccine passports for nightclubs won’t be implemented as a first resort, they will be kept in the back pocket for a Plan B response.
Protective face masks could also be reintroduced in Plan B as a legal requirement in some areas, and working from home advice could also be implemented.
Boris Johnson spoke about the facets involved in the Plan B response: ‘You wouldn't necessarily play them all at once, far from it, you would want to do things in a graduated way.’
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.