With the Covid variant Omicron believed to be ripping through the UK population, tougher restrictions have been brought back by the Government to slow its spread.
From Friday (10 December), the legal requirement for face masks has been brought back in England, while further restrictions are due to come in next week as part of the implementation of Boris Johnson’s winter Plan B measures.
The Prime Minister looks set to face a major Tory rebellion when the legislation goes before Parliament next Tuesday (14 December), but it is expected to pass due to Labour’s votes.
But the Daily Mail has reported that officials are now chewing over whether to bring in even stricter Plan C Covid measures to combat Omicron.
Is there a winter Covid ‘Plan C’?
In the autumn, the Government announced a winter Covid plan for England that would act as a contingency measure should the vaccination programme fail to prevent untenable pressure on the NHS.
It contained the Plan B measures which are set to be introduced next week.
However, there has been no official Plan C - although Cabinet Office officials were understood in October to be considering proposals for a ban on mixing between households, something the Government denied at the time.
Now, the Mail has reported a Plan C proposal is being considered that could see people having to once again check in with the NHS Covid app or provide their personal details in writing when going to pubs and restaurants.
These measures would also extend rules on mask wearing in public indoor spaces and lead to a wider rollout of vaccine passports.
Many of these rules are already in place in Scotland.
The newspaper said these rules could come into being in the New Year should Omicron continue to spread.
However, Boris Johnson may have a fight on his hands if he wishes to impose these measures as the Mail reported that around 60 Conservative MPs are set to challenge him on his Plan B restrictions next week.
The Prime Minister’s authority and credibility have been questioned in light of allegations of multiple illicit Christmas parties in Government building last year.
On Friday, The Daily Telegraph reported another potential restriction which could be brought in is a ‘three-visitor limit’ in care homes in the run up to Christmas.
The Government source who revealed the news to the Telegraph said the idea of limiting visitors was “awaiting ministerial clearance” and “could still be vetoed” by Downing Street.