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Covid: What is Plan B?

All the details about Plan B of the Government’s Covid response programme. 

Covid: What is Plan B?

If the data suggests the NHS is likely to come under unsustainable pressure, the Government has prepared a Plan B for England. The Government hopes not to have to implement Plan B, but given the uncertainty, it is setting out details now so that the public and businesses know what to expect if further measures become necessary.

Given the high levels of protection in the adult population against COVID-19 by vaccination, relatively small changes in policy and behaviour could have a big impact on reducing (or increasing) transmission, bending the epidemic curve and relieving pressure on the NHS. Thanks to the success of the vaccination programme, it should be possible to handle a further resurgence with less damaging measures than the lockdowns and economic and social restrictions deployed in the past. The Government would provide prior notice as far as possible to the public and Parliament ahead of implementing any necessary changes in a Plan B scenario.

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The Government’s Plan B prioritises measures which can help control transmission of the virus while seeking to minimise economic and social impacts. This includes:

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  • a. Communicating clearly and urgently to the public that the level of risk has increased, and with it the need to behave more cautiously.
  • b. Introducing mandatory vaccine-only COVID-status certification in certain settings.
  • c. Legally mandating face coverings in certain settings.

The Government would also consider asking people once again to work from home if they can, for a limited period. The Government recognises this causes more disruption and has greater immediate costs to the economy and some businesses than the other Plan B interventions, so a final decision would be made based on the data at the time.

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