‘Absolutely be prepared for Plan B’ Vallance issues warning as Covid threat ‘uncertain’

Patrick Vallance warns nation must be ready for COVID Plan B

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Sir Patrick Vallance appeared on BBC Radio 4 where he discussed the current state of the pandemic as the country goes into the winter months. John Edmunds, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, believes the Government may not need to introduce additional curbs to limit coronavirus cases as immunity is naturally growing among schoolchildren who are the main spreaders and carriers of the virus. Sir Patrick was asked for his assessment but gave a bleak answer, revealing the UK was in an “uncertain phase” and that the Government should prepare for the winter Plan B option and “move fast” if the data suggests a surge.

Speaking on Radio 4, presenter Martha Kearney spoke to Sir Patrick about his climate change work but quickly asked several questions about the pandemic.

John Edmunds, who sits on SAGE, says modelling suggests because of immunity naturally growing among younger children the Government may not need to introduce restrictions to tackle Covid.

Ms Kearney asked if the pandemic was going in the right direction but Sir Patrick was more pessimistic and cautious about Covid cases.

He explained: “Well, I think we’re in a very uncertain phase and if you read the minutes of SAGE that were published last week, there is considerable uncertainty to which direction this goes.

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“It does indeed depend on the degree of immunity and the amount that’s protected by vaccines and that’s why the booster shots are so important.

“And it depends on overall behavioural change and what John is saying is that amongst the children, there is a degree of immunity building up which will, of course, limit the spread of the virus.

“So it’s wrong to think of it this buildup of immunity as an all or nothing.

“It’s a sort of protective barrier that will reduce the spread of the virus and so we need to monitor this carefully over the next few weeks.”

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Ms Kearney then noted Sir Patrick’s wish for the Government to be prepared for Plan B and to introduce it as quickly as possible if needed.

She asked if the Government needed to be prepared, with the government advisor replying: “Absolutely be prepared, and you need to go as soon as you start thinking, am I am I not going to do this?

“[That] is the time that you need to sort of push beyond your natural reluctance to do it and push to do it.

“And that’s obviously something government will need to consider carefully but then we need to be ready at that moment to move fast if that occurs.”

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The Government has been reluctant to introduce Plan B measures despite NHS chiefs putting pressure on the Prime Minister to put in the restrictions.

As part of the UK’s coronavirus policy, several “Plans” have been laid out as the country enters the winter months.

The “Plan B” option involves reintroducing mask-wearing, working from home and some social distancing measures to limit the rise.

But leaked reports from the Treasury suggest the economic cost of introducing Plan B could reach £18billion.

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