British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected calls from the government’s own scientific advisors to impose tougher Covid measures under the so-called ‘Plan B’ scheme after infections rose 17.9% in the past seven days.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) released advice on Friday that urged the government to act early in combating rising Covid cases in order to “reduce the need for more stringent, disruptive and longer-lasting measures.”
The guidance, outlined in the minutes from an October 14 meeting, states that the “reintroduction of [Covid] measures should be undertaken now” to address soaring case numbers, as the UK heads into the winter months.
Speaking at a vaccination centre in West London, where the prime minister was touting the UK’s rollout of booster Covid jabs, he dismissed calls for a lockdown over the winter amid rising Covid cases. “At the moment, we see absolutely nothing to indicate that [a lockdown] is on the cards,” Johnson stated.
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Responding to the growing concerns about rapidly rising case numbers in the UK, after daily infections topped more than 50,000 for the first time in three months, Johnson claimed that the government’s plan “always predicted” this would happen. However, he dismissed those concerns, arguing that the “high level of infections” currently being seen is “not outside the perimeters” of what was expected at this time.
Calling on individuals to do their part to contain the virus, the PM reminded citizens that “it’s very important” to “follow the guidance on general behaviour.” The reminder from Johnson to follow proper precautions comes amid criticism of Conservative MPs for failing to wear masks in the House of Commons during packed parliamentary sessions. Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg previously dismissed this criticism, claiming that MPs don’t require masks as they know each other and face coverings are only required around “people you don’t normally meet.”
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