'Plan B not required to tackle Omicron spread’ says deputy PM

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Document details: the Government's proposed 'plan B' includes Covid-status certification (image: Getty/_ultraforma_)
Document details: the Government's proposed 'plan B' includes Covid-status certification (image: Getty/_ultraforma_)

Related tags Legislation Government Health and safety

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has stated the Government does not think ‘plan B’ restrictions, which include vaccine passports for pubs, will be needed to tackle the spread of the Omicron variant.

While face masks are now mandatory for entry into shops and on public transport, this is not the case for hospitality settings.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4​’s Today ​programme, Raab said: “We don’t think Plan B is required. Why? Because of the success of the vaccine programme, we’ve got 118m doses dispensed, over a third of those over 12 years old have been given a third dose, not just a first or a second but a third dose or a booster.

“We are making sure there are community pharmacy sites, we’ll have 1,500. We are using the military where that’s required."

Targeted and proportionate approach

He added: “We’ve got this target to get everyone booster jabbed by the end of January and based on the data and the other measures we are taking, including in relation to travel, we believe we are taking the targeted and proportionate approach.”

The Government’s Plan B, which is outlined in full in its Covid-19 Response:  Autumn and Winter Plan​ and has been prepared if the data suggests the NHS is likely to be overwhelmed.

The document says while the Government hopes not to implement its ‘plan B’, “but given the uncertainty, it is setting out details now so the public and businesses know what to expect if further measures become necessary”.

This included introducing mandatory vaccine-only Covid-status certification in certain settings and legally mandating face coverings in certain settings.

Plan details

Vaccine passports would be used as part of the ‘plan B’ and would be preferable to closing venues completely or reimposing social distancing, the document argued.

It warned if the plan was implemented, it could be at short notice and so the Government would shortly publish more details about the proposed certification regime that would be introduced as part of the plan.

It could be used for nightclubs and indoor, crowded settings with 500 or more attendees where those people are likely to be in close proximity to other households, such as music venues or large receptions.

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