Boris Johnson has proposed a "plan A" and "plan B" policy to manage the spread of COVID-19 over the winter months.
The Prime Minister revealed plans in a press conference earlier today (September 14), maintaining that although the government was "confident in the vaccines that have made such a difference to our lives," they could rule out measures to prevent "unsustainable pressure on NHS."
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If "plan B" were to be needed, the government have said measures such as mandatory face masks, COVID verification (or vaccines passports) for venues with 500+ people and staff being asked to work from home could be reintroduced.
On Sunday Health Secretary Sajid Javid had announced plans for vaccine passports to be required for nightclubs and venues in England at the end of this month would be scrapped, though the Prime Minister said during his speech that the government would be "working with businesses to prepare" for the introduction of COVID certification if needed.
On vaccine passports, Johnson said: "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 businesses open at full capacity or not."
The Prime Minister insisted that with the large swathe of the population already having immunity to the virus "small changes can make a bigger difference," and therefore reduce the likelihood for lockdown measures.
However, Sajid Javid said in the House of Commons earlier today that if "plan B" were to fail, the government would not rule out a national lockdown.
“Any responsible government must prepare for all eventualities, and although these measures are not an outcome anyone wants, it's one that we need to be ready for just in case.”
The Prime Minister's spokesperson said there is no metric for the introduction of "plan B", unlike previous restrictions that have been dependent on both national and local infection rates. A sudden increase in cases or a new variant of COVID would not necessarily mean that measures would be introduced.
Instead, the plans would be determined based on hospital admissions, virus trajectory and NHS resources.
Megan Townsend is Mixmag's Deputy Digital Editor, follow her on Twitter