THE UK should be moving immediately to Plan B, an expert has warned today.
Professor Tim Spector revealed he would be urging ministers crank up a gear in the fight against Covid.
The lead scientist behind the ZOE Covid Study App said he wouldn’t bother with Plan A – which the Prime Minister is hoping will see Britain through the winter.
He said: “If I was in charge – which I’m not – I would be saying to the Government ‘go straight to Plan B’.
“Don’t wait for the already creaking NHS and its poor staff that have been suffering for so long to go through further traumas.
“And other countries have shown we can clearly get these numbers down now if we want to.”
Plan B would involve masks being reintroduced, home working coming back and vaccine passports brought in.
Britain is currently in a good position in the fight against the virus – with deaths relatively low and the vaccines working, despite cases remaining high.
But the UK has scrapped social distancing and made masks optional – which Prof Spector has warned against.
He added: “I am worried with more people being indoors. I’d urge everyone to when they can wear masks, keep your distance, have a lateral flow test before big events.
“Of course if you’ve got one of the top five symptoms, you’ve suddenly developed a weird cold/headache, just stay at home.
“Don’t be selfish and risk infecting other people.”
His colleagues have also created a graph this week showing the different regions of the UK and how close they are to being overrun with Covid cases.
The NHS hospitals suffering worst at the moment are in Scotland, followed by the Midlands, with Prof Spector warning “it wouldn’t take much to tip the Midlands into a big problem”.
Every winter the NHS struggles with the usual respiratory illnesses, but this year Covid plus these viruses could bring hospitals to capacity much quicker.
Last winter, flu and other viruses were largely kept down due to everyone being in lockdown and Covid being the dominant virus spreading around the country.
But this year, we will have been mingling much more freely with no social distancing in the run up to – and throughout – winter.
This means medics will be faced with both Covid and the classic winter illnesses, which will be back with a bang.
Plan B will be swiftly deployed if the NHS becomes overwhelmed by pressures again – but Prof Spector says it should come into force now.
The PM unveiled a “toolbox” of tough contingency measures that could be imposed at short notice to wrestle down a fresh spike.
Speaking at a Downing Street briefing this week he was bullish that his plan “will give us the confidence we don’t need to go back to the lockdowns of the past”.
Contingency plans include legally mandating face masks in crowded settings, stressing the need for caution and ordering people to work from home.
While hated vaccine passports will be shelved for now – Mr Johnson warned they could be suddenly introduced with a week’s notice.
Covid certification would then be required for all nightclubs, any indoor venue with more than 500 people, any outdoor settings with more than 1,000 people.
But gloomy top docs warned of a winter surge as pupils return to schools and the NHS grapples with its usual seasonal strain.
Prof Chris Whitty warned: “Winter is coming, and people should still take this seriously.”
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