The UK must move to Plan B immediately, an expert has warned today.
Professor Tim Spector revealed that he would urge ministers to crank up a gear in the fight against Covid.
The lead scientist for the ZOE Covid study app said he would not bother with Plan A – which the prime minister is hoping will see Britain over the winter.
He said: “If I was in charge – which I am not – I would say to the government ‘go straight to Plan B’.
“Don’t wait for the already crumbling NHS and its poor staff who have been suffering for so long and going through further trauma.
“And other countries have shown that we can obviously reduce these numbers if we want to.”
Plan B will include reintroducing masks, returning to work from home and bringing a vaccine passport.
Britain is currently in a good position in the fight against the virus – deaths are relatively low and vaccines are working, yet cases remain high.
But the UK has done away with social distancing and made masks optional – against which Pro Specter has warned.
He said: “I’m worried about more people being indoors. I urge everyone to know when they can wear masks, keep their distance, do lateral flow tests before big events.
“Of course if you have one of these top five traitsYou have suddenly got a strange cold/headache, just stay at home.
“Don’t be selfish and risk infecting other people.”
His colleagues this week also created a graph showing different areas of the UK and how close they are to overtaking COVID cases.
NHS hospitals are currently the worst hit, with Scotland, followed by the Midlands, with Prof Spector warning that “it will not take long for the Midlands to turn into a major problem”.
Every winter the NHS grapples with common respiratory illnesses, but this year Covid plus these viruses could bring hospitals to capacity very quickly.
Last winter, the flu and other viruses were largely put down due to everyone being in lockdown and the major virus spreading across the country.
But this year, we’ll be meeting more freely – without any social distancing – and throughout the winter.
This means medics will have to deal with both covid and the classic cold, which will come back with a bang.
Plan B will be rapidly deployed if the NHS becomes overwhelmed by pressure again – but Pro Spector says it must be in place now.
The PM unveiled a “toolbox” of stringent contingency measures that can be put in place at short notice to stem a new spike.
Speaking at the Downing Street briefing this week he was optimistic that his plan would “give us confidence that we don’t need to go back to the lockdowns of the past”.
Contingency plans include legally mandating face masks in crowded settings, emphasizing the need for caution and ordering people to work from home.
While hated vaccine passports will be put on hold for now – Mr Johnson warned he could suddenly be presented with a week’s notice.
Then all nightclubs, any indoor venue with more than 500 people, any outdoor setting with more than 1,000 people would require COVID certification.
But gloomy top docs warned of a winter boom as students return to schools and the NHS grapples with its usual seasonal stress.
Prof Chris Whitty warned: “Winter is coming, and people must still take it seriously.”
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