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‘Less than 20% chance’ Boris Johnson will have to trigger Plan B Covid restrictions due to drop in cases, insiders say




There is now a “less than 20% chance” that Boris Johnson will need to trigger further Covid restrictions due to the drop in cases, according to insiders.

Whitehall officials are increasingly convinced that the Prime Minister will not need to achieve Plan B which would impose masks, work from home and vaccine passports.

Insiders increasingly convinced Boris Johnson won't have to trigger Plan B


Insiders increasingly convinced Boris Johnson won’t have to trigger Plan BCredit: Reuters

The number 10 was reportedly supported by a sharp drop in new infections over the past week and scientists’ predictions that the virus would die out.

The initially slow booster jab campaign has now also shifted into high gear with early evidence showing that it is reducing the spread among the elderly.

This has led to a change of mood in Whitehall and growing confidence costly restrictions can be avoided, according to the FT.

A well-placed source told the newspaper that things are “now going in the right direction”.

They added: “I think there is less than a 20 percent chance of needing to activate Plan B.”

New cases in England fell to 32,280 yesterday, a 12% drop from the same time last week.

Some scientists predicted that the virus would die out during the fall and infections could drop to 5,000 a day by Christmas.

Downing St said the recent cut was “encouraging” but warned it was still “too early” to draw firm conclusions on a trend.

The Prime Minister’s spokesperson said: “We will continue to urge the public to adhere to the stated guidelines and to those eligible for booster doses.

“The prevalence remains relatively high although it has decreased to some extent.

“There is nothing in the statistics currently to suggest a switch to Plan B.

“But it is too early to draw any conclusions from statistics in recent days which have shown a drop in the number of cases.”

But a health services boss insisted ministers should still go ahead and trigger further restrictions.

NHS Confederation Chief Matthew Taylor said: “It’s better to take relatively easy precautions now than risk things getting worse.

It is not just about Covid but several pressures combined and it is still only at the end of October and it has not been cold in most places yet. “

Meanwhile, the creator of the Oxford vaccine has said people should stop criticizing Britain for its high rates of Covid.

Professor Sir Andrew Pollard said international comparisons are misleading as the UK performs far more tests than many countries.

He pointed out that the proportion of positive swabs is currently higher in Germany.

PM hesitates to impose new restrictions like vaccine passports


PM hesitates to impose new restrictions like vaccine passportsCredit: Getty

It comes with the PM reluctant to bring back masks and work from home and impose vaccine passports above the exorbitant cost to businesses.

Boris has been warned that triggering Plan B will cost the economy up to $ 18 billion over the winter.

And scientists say these measures could have only a marginal impact on the spread of the virus anyway.

Business Minister Paul Scully said the government was aware of the cost of “stop start” lockdowns and did not want to “stifle” the recovery.

Leaked documents drafted by Cabinet Office and Treasury officials predict that Plan B will cost up to $ 3.6 billion per month.

The Whitehall Mandarins are working on the “assumption” that new restrictions will remain in place until March of next year.

According to documents obtained by Politico, working from home is the most affected by businesses.

Officials say telling people to stay away from offices would only have a moderately positive impact on reducing transmission.

They also warn that PM vaccine passports would make a negligible difference in stopping the virus while having a “high impact” on the economy.

Research indicates that Covid papers would reduce overall transmission across the country by just 1-5%.

This is because even though they have reduced the spread in mass events by 40 to 45%, only 2 to 13% of new infections occur in these places.

And the Mandarins warn that the imposition of vaccine passports could have “wider impacts” and further exacerbate the UK’s supply chain crisis.

The document states that they are likely to have a positive impact on reducing transmission, although it is not possible to say precisely by how much.

Plan B “No sense” required

Officials said the reimposition of a full lockdown, which the prime minister insists he does not consider, would have a much bigger effect on crushing the virus.

A government spokesperson said: “We knew the coming months would be tough, which is why we laid out our fall and winter plan last month.

“Plan B ensures that we are ready, if we are to act, to avoid an unsustainable increase in hospitalizations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

“The assumptions made do not reflect government policy. There is no expected five-month timeframe.”

Separate research from Whitehall, seen by the Telegraph, calculates that vaccine passports could cost the events industry up to $ 2.3 billion over six months.

He warns that bringing them in would simply push people from larger, well-ventilated places like football stadiums into crowded pubs.

Mr Scully insisted the PM still sees no plan to trigger Plan B, as hospitalizations have not risen sharply depending on the case.

He said: “We saw the concerns of businesses when we had the stop-start nature around the same time last year and we knew the cost to businesses.

“That is why we are taking all measures to ensure that we do not stifle the recovery, that we allow companies to fully trade.

“We don’t want to stifle the recovery. So there is no sense that there is anything at this time that suggests Plan B is needed.”

Conservative MP Mark Harper, Chairman of the Covid Recovery Group, added: “Plan B Covid restrictions are not free.

“Shutting down chunks of the economy means there is less revenue to fund public services like the NHS.”

No 10 defended Plan B and insisted it would make a difference to bring down business.

Covid cases to drop this winter even without Plan B restrictions and could drop to 5,000 daily cases before Christmas




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