No need for Covid Plan B – we can have Christmas so long as we're careful, minister says

26 October 2021, 08:25 | Updated: 26 October 2021, 09:42

The Government is determined to avoid "stifling" the pandemic recovery.
The Government is determined to avoid "stifling" the pandemic recovery. Picture: LBC

By Will Taylor

There is "no need" for the Government's Covid Plan B to be implemented, a minister has said – and the Government is determined to avoid "stifling" the pandemic recovery.

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Small business minister Paul Scully told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast that the Government is "taking every measure to make sure that we don't choke" the bounce back from coronavirus.

Plan B measures could see face coverings become mandatory, employees be asked to work from home and, as a last resort, lockdowns.

It has led to fears that as the winter sets in, cases could continue to rise, with daily infections reaching 50,000 last week and health secretary Sajid Javid even warning of 100,000 a day.

But Mr Scully said, amid fears that a Plan B could derail festive plans, he is confident Christmas will go ahead if people are "sensible".

Read more: Covid cases 'could rapidly drop next month even without Plan B'

Read more: What is the UK's Covid-19 winter 'Plan B'?

Speaking on Tuesday morning, he said: "We don't want to be stifling the recovery. There's no sense that there's anything at the moment that's suggesting Plan B is needed.

"Although case numbers have gone up, hospitalisations haven't gone up in the same proportion so there is still the suggestion there that we've weakened the link with the excellent vaccination programme and the booster programme."

Asked if he was confident that Christmas will go ahead for the small businesses like butchers or garden nurseries, Mr Scully said: "For me, as business minister, absolutely.

Read more: Sajid Javid pledges 'Christmas is safe' dismissing calls to bring in Plan B

"We have to make sure that everybody throughout the country realises that we're also still living with Covid, it hasn't gone away.

"As long as we are all sensible, all careful and using our discretion and respect for others then we can have that Christmas exactly as you said."

His comments followed reports that modelling shown to the Government suggests cases could instead plunge to around 5,000 a day.

There have been fears a combination of people meeting indoors during colder weather and a resurgence of winter flu could heavily strain the NHS.

The Government has been urging anyone eligible to top up their protection from Covid by getting a booster vaccine dose.

But ministers have repeatedly stressed they do not see the need to implement a Plan B for now and are desperate to avoid reintroducing any restrictions.