Covid measures ‘plan C’ has been discussed, senior official tells MPs

6 months ago 89

A “plan C” for tougher coronavirus restrictions has been discussed successful authoritative circles, a elder civilian servant has confirmed, contempt ministers denying that tougher measures are an enactment this Christmas should the complaint of caller cases proceed to rise.

The denotation of readying for perchance harsher restrictions comes arsenic elder scientists and Labour propulsion for the rollout of “plan B”, an existing bundle of “light-touch” measures including proposal to enactment from location and compulsory look masks successful immoderate settings.

Last week the wellness minster Edward Argar denied that thing of the bid of a program C – which could see restrictions connected household mixing astatine Christmas – was being contemplated by the government.

However, the word was utilized connected Tuesday by Prof Lucy Chappell, the main technological advisor for the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), erstwhile MPs asked whether a nonaccomplishment to bring successful program B actions present whitethorn mean tighter restrictions are needed later.

“I deliberation it suggests that program A and program B and immoderate the program C looks similar are mutually exclusive, but they are not,” she told the subject and exertion prime committee connected Covid transmission.

Chappell was past questioned connected whether a program C did, successful fact, exist.

“It has been projected … The sanction has been mentioned. It has not been extensively worked up,” she said, adding that astatine the DHSC, “at the moment, the absorption is connected program B”.

Dr Thomas Waite, the interim lawman main aesculapian serviceman astatine the DHSC, said it was up to the government, not technological advisers, to determine whether program B should beryllium introduced. He suggested determination was nary azygous measurement oregon threshold that would pass the move, alternatively a information of assorted factors, including age-stratified lawsuit rates, the complaint of alteration successful infirmary admissions, the interaction of waning immunity, and the power of booster jabs.

The grounds league besides included grounds from Prof Sir Andrew Pollard, the manager of the Oxford Vaccine Group, who suggested that though transmission successful the UK was high, focusing connected regular figures of Covid hospitalisations and deaths was misleading, noting they included radical who needed aesculapian assistance oregon had died for different reason.

Pollard besides suggested that regular investigating successful schools was problematic.

“Clearly, the ample magnitude of investigating successful schools is precise disruptive to the system, whether that is the idiosyncratic kid who is past isolating, due to the fact that they’ve tested positive, but they’re wholly well, oregon it’s due to the fact that of the concerns that that raises much wide successful the school,” helium said.

“I deliberation astir apt we request to determination successful the pandemic, implicit this winter, possibly towards the extremity of the winter, to a wholly antithetic strategy of clinically driven testing,” helium said. “In different words, investigating radical who are unwell alternatively than having a regular investigating of those radical who are well.”

Pollard said that portion vaccinating radical who person yet to person a Covid jab would marque a large quality for intensive care, and booster doses whitethorn trim infirmary admissions, vaccinations unsocial would not beryllium capable to region pressures connected the NHS.

“When you look astatine wherever the NHS is today, it is incredibly fragile, whether it’s successful superior attraction and secondary attraction oregon successful societal care, and that fragility is lone contributed [to] a tiny magnitude by Covid,” helium said.