According to reports, Downing Street is drawing up plans for people to work from home and offices to be closed in a bid to avoid tighter measures being imposed over Christmas.
The Cabinet was given an update on the pandemic yesterday (Tuesday 7 December) morning.
The BBC reported the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “The Prime Minister said it was too early to draw conclusions on the characteristics of Omicron but early indications were it is more transmissible than Delta."
He said currently, it was “too early to tell” the impact the vaccine has on the variant or how serious illness it could cause. He added that ministers did not discuss whether to introduce Plan B for winter.
The current measures of face masks in shops and on public transport as well as travel testing rules are set to be reviewed next week too.
The Government’s Plan B, which was 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, which was released in October, 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.
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.
However, deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said earlier this week (7 December) the Government does not think ‘plan B’ restrictions will be needed to tackle the spread of the Omicron variant.