Labor is calling on the government to introduce Plan B measures to tackle Covid in England, including advice on working from home and mandatory masks.
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves also told the BBC that the vaccine program was “stalled” and needed to work better.
But Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the data does not currently suggest “moving to plan B immediately”.
The measures, which aim to protect the NHS from “unsustainable pressure”, also include compulsory Covid passports.
Plan A, currently in force, provides for offering booster vaccinations to the most vulnerable, a single dose to healthy children between the ages of 12 and 15, and encouraging unvaccinated people to get vaccinated.
The NHS Confederation and the British Medical Association are among the groups that have called for the reintroduction of some restrictions in England, amid cases on the rise.
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Reeves said Labor would “follow the science,” adding that the government’s Emergency Science Advisory Group (Sage) said some aspects of Plan B – such as wearing masks on public transport and in shops and working from home in more flexible way – they should be introduced.
“I think the first thing is that the government has to do more to make Plan A work,” he told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show.
“If the scientists say we work from home and with masks, we should. So make A work better because the vaccination program is stalled and introduce those parts of Plan B.
“But there are also things not in A or B that need to be done, like paying the statutory sickness benefit from day one and also better ventilation in public spaces.”
Asked if Plan B should be introduced now, he said, “Yes, but let’s not let go of the government with Plan A either.”
Appearing on the same program, Mr. Sunak was also asked if it was time to introduce the government reserve plan.
“We are monitoring everything, but at the moment the data does not suggest that we should immediately move to Plan B, but of course we will be keeping an eye on it and the plans are ready,” he said.
The chancellor also said that the reintroduction of the leave regime “is not planned because we do not expect to have to impose significant economic restrictions in the way we have had in the last year”.
He added that the vaccine launch was the “first line of defense” and the recall campaign was the best way to protect people during the winter.
Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), said the vaccination schedule alone was not enough “to get things back under control.”
“We need people to use lateral flow tests, avoid contact with large numbers of people in enclosed spaces, use masks, all of these things now have to happen if we are to stop this increase and get things under control soon enough to stop. a real meltdown in the middle of winter, “he told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips on Sunday.
Asked if the government should move to plan B now, he said, “Well, kind of a plan B.”
In the minutes of a Sage meeting on October 14, released Friday, scientists said the restrictions should be prepared for “rapid deployment” and that acting sooner could reduce the need for stricter measures for a longer period of time.
They said that, among the government’s support measures, advising people to work from home would likely have the greatest impact on the spread of Covid.
Cases in the UK were in excess of 40,000 for 11 consecutive days, with 44,985 new cases registered on Saturday and the number reported over the past seven days increased by 15% from the previous week.
The number of Covid patients hospitalized and deaths within 28 days of a positive test are also increasing, with 135 deaths recorded on Saturday.
Meanwhile, new rules have come into effect allowing fully vaccinated travelers returning to England to perform lateral flow tests instead of more expensive PCR tests.
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