Health Secretary Sajid Javid ruled out the implementation of ‘Plan B’ restrictions despite soaring Covid cases, but it is said ministers are discussing more drastic measures
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The ban on households mixing could reportedly make a return with Brits urged to take Covid tests before Christmas gatherings with family and friends.
It is said that Cabinet Office officials are discussing proposals for mixing between households to be banned, which could form part of a “Plan C”, along with mandatory face masks, a work from homeorder and vaccine passports if booster jabs don’t bring the virus under control by Christmas.
In a press conference held on Wednesday Health Secretary Sajid Javid ruled out the implementation of ‘Plan B’ restrictions, despite soaring Covid cases.
Mr Javid said the Government was focusing on getting unvaccinated Brits to come forward for their jabs and rolling out booster shots.
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But he warned that if people fail to ‘do their bit’ restrictions will be ‘more likely’ in the future.
It comes after the UK recorded a seven-month high in Covid deaths on Tuesday, with fatalities up by more than 21 per cent in a week.
NHS Confederation boss Matthew Taylor also warned that certain restrictions need to be reintroduced to prevent a winter crisis.
Mr Javid went on to warn that Brits should consider meeting up outdoors and also wearing masks in crowded places to prevent a further spike in cases.
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He went on to say people should consider taking Covid tests before meeting up with friends and family at parties over the festive season.
If they must meet indoors, he added, people should open windows in order to let in fresh air.
Meanwhile, the Telegraph reports that Cabinet Office officials are discussing proposals for mixing between households to be banned, which could form part of a “Plan C”.
The ban would be implemented if pressure on hospitals worsens.
Officials in the Cabinet Office’s Covid taskforce are said to be discussing whether the move should be imposed this winter, if Plan B is put in place but considered not enough.
A Whitehall source was reported to have said: “The focus is very much on measures that can be taken without a major economic impact, so keeping shops, pubs and restaurants open but looking at other ways to reduce the risks.”
The discussions are said to be at an ‘early stage,’ with insiders saying it formed part of contingency planning and would not be added to Plan B, or automatically introduced if Plan B was enacted but didn’t work.
The ban on people from different households or bubbles meeting indoors was lifted on May 17, for the first time since the New Year.
At the time it was set as a maximum group of up to six people or two households – whichever was larger. The six-person limit also included babies and children, as they were not exempt.
The so-called ‘rule of six’ was dropped altogether when most restrictions were canned in mid-July.
The latest data on Covid case numbers reveal that on Wednesday there were a further 49,139 new cases recorded in the UK.
There was also another 179 deaths from the disease.