What is Plan B Covid in the UK?
The government has set out plans to tackle Covid over autumn and winter.
This contains the preferred Plan A, which will be followed if the number of infections remains manageable and the NHS is not overwhelmed, and Plan B, if the health service starts to struggle.
Plan A focuses on continuing with the vaccine roll-out.
This means offering it to healthy 12 to 15-year-olds, encouraging those who have not yet come forward to do so, and moving forward with the booster jab programme for those most at risk.
It will also encourage Brits to take up free flu jabs, as well as frequent testing, self-isolation when necessary and the NHS Covid Pass to check vaccination or test status.
Plan B on the other hand will mean the return of measures seen in the UK's various lockdowns.
This could include making face coverings and vaccine passports mandatory in certain locations, returning to working from home, and generally urging the public to behave more cautiously.
It has been claimed that some parts of England will see Plan B measures in the next few days as coronavirus infections continue to rise.
It comes as the Health Secretary, begged Brits to get their booster jab, backing The Sun’s Give Britain a Booster campaign, in a bid to battle the virus.
When could Plan B be introduced?
Speaking in a Downing Street press conference on October 20, 2021, the Health Secretary said Plan B contingency measures won't happen "at this point" but begged Brits not to "blow it".
"We won't be implementing our Plan B of measures at this point but we will be remaining vigilant," he said.
Mr Javid also urged those eligible to have a third dose of the vaccine to top up their antibodies.
He said this was "not just to save lives, but to keep your freedoms too".
The government's plan states that Plan B in England “would only be enacted if the data suggest further measures are necessary to protect the NHS”.
The British Medical Association (BMA) said the decision was “willfully negligent.”
Downing Street has previously warned of a "challenging winter" ahead - and experts fear the situation is worsening.
This is down to the "slow" booster jab roll-out and rising hospitalisations and daily cases, they said.
John Roberts, of the Covid-19 Actuaries Response Group said it may take until the end of January 2022 before all of the 22 million vulnerable people get their third shots.
The PM's official spokesman said on October 18, 2021: "There is absolutely no plan to introduce Plan B currently.
"We retain that capability if required if we believe the NHS is coming under unsustainable pressure.
"We obviously keep very close watch on the latest statistics. We always knew the coming months would be challenging."
Could there be another lockdown?
Ministers are currently discussing Plan C measures, which would see the reintroduction of Covid rules such as banning mixing between households, return of face masks, work from home and vaccine passports.
However, on October 20, 2021, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng insisted there will not be another lockdown and that there is no need to activate Plan B measures.
When asked about calls for another lockdown, he said: "I would rule that out. I absolutely think it would be completely wrong.
"Throughout this process, there have been people saying the lockdown was unnecessary and other people saying we should continue the lockdown.
"We’ve really plotted a path between those two extremes and it has worked.
“What we want to do is manage the situation as it is. We don't want to go back into lockdown or into further restrictions.
"We just want to keep going, keep the economy going, keep people, getting back to normal life.
"We've had our lock downs, we've managed to reopen the economy, and I don't want to revert back."
He added: "There was always going be a risk the infection rates would go up as we opened up the economy.
"Of course there is the risk of greater infections, but the critical thing is looking at the hospitalisation and sadly death rates.
"And those compared to where we were just in January are much much lower.
"It’s still a difficult situation but it’s a much much better situation than it was just 4/5 months ago when we were still in the middle of a lockdown."