The Government has said that it has no plans at the moment to bring in any additional Covid restrictions depsite the upturn in cases over the last few days.
Asked if the government’s “plan B” autumn and winter strategy was going to be used which would involve masks being required in some settings, and the use of domestic vaccine passports for getting into nightclubs and other mass gatherings, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said
“We obviously keep very close watch on the latest statistics. We always knew the coming months would be challenging.
What we are seeing is case rates, hospitalisations and deaths still broadly in line with the modelling as set out a few months back now. The vaccination programme will continue to be our first line of defence, along with new treatments, testing and public health advice.
But we will obviously keep a close watch on cases. But it is thanks to our vaccination programme that we are able to substantially break the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths.”
Today has seen 49,156 people tested positive for the virus
Meanwhile Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of SAGE, warned of waning levels of immunity from COVID vaccinations.
He told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: “I think it’s concerning that we’ve got very high rates of infection and higher rates of hospitalisation and mortality than many of our European counterparts.
“Whenever we approach a winter period we expect respiratory virus infections to increase, so I think it’s very important that we go into that with as high a level of population immunity, especially in elderly and clinically vulnerable groups, as possible.”
He said waning immunity is “probably part of” the reason infections are currently high, adding there is “some evidence” protection against infection is beginning to wear off and “probably some evidence” protection against severe disease is waning to a lesser extent.
Professor Hayward added: “We shouldn’t be complacent because there is still huge potential for the NHS to come under a lot of pressure and for there to be a lot of unnecessary deaths.
“So we need to get the vaccination rates up and we need to be prepared potentially to think about other measures if things do get out of control.”