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Boris Johnson rejects calls to activate Covid Plan B

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Boris Johnson continues to resist calls from health officials for tighter Covid restrictions despite rising levels of infections.

The prime minister admitted the figures were “high” but said they were “within parameters” expected by scientists advising the government.

It came as the daily number of reported cases in the UK surpassed 50,000 for the first time since mid-July.

Speaking during a visit to a primary school in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland, he said the most effective way to fight the disease was to continue the booster program.

His comments follow calls from the Confederation of the NHS and the British Medical Association (BMA) for ministers to activate their winter plan B for England, fearing the health services could be overwhelmed.

BMA board chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said refusing to introduce additional measures – including Covid passports, wearing masks in crowded public spaces and a return to work from home – amounted to “willful negligence”.

However, Mr Johnson said the successful roll-out of the vaccination program meant the country was in a “incomparably better” position than it was 12 months ago and the government was sticking to its plan. TO.

“We are continuing the plan we established in July. We are monitoring the numbers very carefully every day, ”he said in a clip bundled for broadcasters.

“The number of infections is high but we are within the parameters of what the predictions were, of what Spi-M (modeling group) and the others said we would be at this point given the measurements that we take.

“We are sticking to our plan. “

The prime minister urged those over 50 to come forward and get their recall as soon as they become eligible.

“You get the call, get the jab. We’ve done about 4 million booster jabs already, but as soon as you become eligible, as soon as you get that call, everyone over 50 should get that jab, ”he said.

“90% of the adult population has antibodies right now, but we need to strengthen ourselves further.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

“The number (of infections) is high, we can see what’s going on, we can see the increase, now is the time to get those booster shots.”

His call came as the latest official figures showed around 4.7 million booster doses were delivered in the UK, up from 4.4 million on Wednesday.

NHS England said on Wednesday that a record number of people had booked their reminder through the national reservation service, with 234,000 bookings.

Meanwhile, another 52,009 laboratory-confirmed cases of the virus as of 9 a.m. Thursday, the highest daily number since mid-July.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

This follows a warning from Health Secretary Sajid Javid at a press conference in Downing Street on Wednesday that new cases could reach 100,000 a day.

He said the government may be forced to introduce new restrictions as Christmas approaches unless people take their booster shots and follow continued guidelines on social distancing.

Leading virologist Dr Chris Smith of the University of Cambridge said the numbers were already probably close to 100,000, with around half of all cases asymptomatic.

“We’re looking very hard, we’re doing over a million tests a day now, but we probably have very high levels around that sort of number right now,” he told BBC Breakfast.

Meanwhile, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said the vaccination program had stalled and urged the government to commit to a target of 500,000 injections per day.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer
Sir Keir Starmer has warned that the vaccination program has stalled (Stefan Rousseau / PA)

“The government has said the vaccine will be the security wall against the virus. And now the government is letting this wall collapse, ”he said.

“The stimulus package has slowed down so much that at this rate we’re not going to finish it until the spring of next year. The government has to change, it has to take back control.

Despite the increase in the number of cases, Downing Street insisted that there was still spare capacity in the NHS and that Plan B would only be activated if it came under “significant pressure”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said there are currently 95,000 hospital beds in the NHS, of which 7,000 are occupied by Covid patients, while around 6,000 are free.

“We will be monitoring hospitalization rates very carefully, admission rates, intensive care (intensive care unit) rates, the usual metrics we have used during this pandemic to judge how our NHS is coping” , said the spokesperson.

“Obviously, we will not hesitate to act if necessary.

The spokesperson denied reports that authorities were considering a Plan C to ban household mixing if the situation continued to deteriorate.

“It is important to stress that neither ministers nor officials are working on these proposals.

“This is not correct,” the spokesperson said.

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