- Boris Johnson said there would be ‘absolutely nothing to indicate’ a new lockdown
- Hospitality owners warn re-imposition of Covid rules will lead to closure
- Rising number of coronavirus cases have prompted fears of a resumption of restrictions
- Ministers currently not planning to trigger face masks and WFH’s ‘Plan B’
Boris Johnson insisted today that there is ‘absolutely nothing to indicate’ there will be another lockdown this winter.
The prime minister said a national shutdown is not ‘on the cards’ as he was informed about the rising number of coronavirus cases.
His remarks came after Tory MPs and hospitality chiefs urged the PM to oppose health bosses’ calls to trigger the government’s Covid-19 ‘Plan B’.
Conservative lawmakers fear that moving forward with a fall back strategy of getting people to work from home and wear face masks will put the country on a ‘slippery slope’ towards another lockdown.
They are adamant that there should be no return to the tough restrictions, claiming the government should not be ‘threatened’ by health leaders to enforce the new rules.
Meanwhile, hospitality owners have warned the PM against imposing restrictions saying that many pubs, bars and restaurants will ‘go on the wall’.
The hospitality industry is concerned that even a light touch could affect bookings and ‘put Christmas at risk’.
The government has insisted that rolling out ‘Plan B’ is not imminent, with the focus currently on rolling out vaccine booster shots.
But ministers took an ominous tone this morning as they said the blueprint is ‘for a reason’.
Hospitality owners have warned Boris Johnson, pictured at a London vaccination center today, that reimposing coronavirus rules this winter will force many pubs, bars and restaurants to ‘go to the wall’.
The hospitality industry is concerned that the implementation of the government’s ‘Plan B’ will affect bookings and put ‘Christmas in jeopardy’. soho in central london
Tory MPs are concerned that triggering a ‘Plan B’ will put the country on a ‘slippery slope’ towards another lockdown.
Boris Johnson pressures experts to cut wait times for booster jab
Boris Johnson pressured his scientific advisers last night to cut the waiting time for booster jabs from six months to five.
If a decision is made immediately, around 9 million more Britons will be eligible for a third dose of the vaccine.
There is growing concern that the rollout of the Covid booster plan has been too slow, putting the public at risk as cases rise. Currently, people 50 and over with health problems are invited to have their jab six months after their second dose.
Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt called on ministers yesterday to reduce the waiting time to five months.
Mr Johnson admitted it was a ‘very important point’. The six-month deadline was imposed by the government’s advisors on the Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization (JCVI). The Prime Minister’s intervention suggests that the JCVI may be asked to revisit the timeline.
Speaking during a visit to Northern Ireland, Mr Johnson urged people over 50 to come forward and get their booster jabs as soon as they became eligible – saying it was important to ‘strengthen’ defenses against the virus .
‘The most important thing people can do now is to get that booster jab. You get the call, you get the jab. We’ve already done about four million booster jobs, but everyone over 50 should get that jab as soon as you get that call, as soon as you qualify.
‘We are in a better position to move into autumn/winter now than we were 12 months ago, incomparably better, because the vaccines have given us a massive level of protection.
‘Ninety percent of the adult population still has antibodies, but we strengthen ourselves the most.
‘The numbers are high, we can see what’s happening, we can see the increase, it’s time to get those booster jabs on.’
Health bosses have called on the government to introduce ‘Plan B’ measures as they warned the NHS was currently heading towards a winter crisis.
Dr Chand Nagpaul of the British Medical Association said the refusal to implement Plan B measures was ‘deliberate negligence’. Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents health trusts, said ‘it is better to act now than to regret later’.
Over 50,000 new coronavirus cases confirmed yesterday Highest daily reported cases since July 17.
During this, As of Thursday a further 115 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the UK total to 139,146.
Mr Johnson was asked this afternoon during a visit to a vaccination center in London if there was no question of a complete lockdown this winter.
He replied: ‘I have to tell you at this time that we see absolutely nothing to indicate that this is on the cards.’
However, some Westminster figures believe the PM may be forced to activate his ‘Plan B’ of lower-level sanctions.
The premier is said to have delayed the decision to implement ‘Plan B’ until after half a term in hopes of preventing a rise in school leave cases.
The period between Halloween and New Year’s Eve is crucial for the hospitality industry as bookings typically peak in January and February before the calm.
There is growing concern in the sector that some coronavirus restrictions may be reimposed before the end of the year, which could dent consumer confidence.
Phil Urban, chief executive of Mitchell & Butler, which owns pubs and restaurants including the All Bar One chain, told The Guardian: ‘People are very nervous and if you go to Plan B it puts Christmas at risk.
‘The industry is not out of the woods, and the rug will be pulled from under us as soon as we get our momentum back.’
UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nichols echoed a similar sentiment…