As Covid infection rates soar across the UK questions are being asked about what measures are being put in place to stem the rise.
The increase in cases comes just as the annual winter pressures on the NHS start to rise.
Many believe more needs to be done to protect the NHS from becoming too stretched and to stop the infection rate getting out of control.
But as the infection rate breed concerns of another disrupted festive season, Sajid Javid suggested on Monday that Christmas will be “normal” this year if people continue to come forward for vaccines and make use of regular testing. The government is currently relying on the uptake of the vaccine to ensure their ‘Plan A’ approach is effective.
“For all those people like me that are hoping and planning for a normal Christmas – which I do by the way, I think that’s where we’ll be, we’ll have a normal Christmas – if we want let’s just keep playing our part,” the health secretary told BBC Breakfast.
Hours earlier, Professor Peter Openshaw, a member of the government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), had warned the current infection rate in the UK was “unacceptable” and “astonishingly high” compared to “most other west European countries”.
Nearly 37,000 new cases and 38 deaths were reported in the UK on Monday, with these figures excluding Wales due to a “technical issue”.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said the reintroduction of mask-wearing, working from home guidance and vaccine certification – key components to the government’s ‘Plan B’ – would “reduce the need for more stringent, disruptive, and longer-lasting measures” in the future.
In minutes published last Friday, Sage said that advice to work from home is “likely to have the greatest individual impact” in cutting infections, which are now increasing in the majority of age groups and regions across the UK, according to official data.
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