Boris Johnson is being urged to implement his "Plan B" for the winter or risk a health crisis according to NHS officials.
The head of the NHS Confederation Matthew Taylor, which represents the healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said the government needs to take action right now.
It comes after Covid deaths peaked today at 223 - the highest in seven months - while the seven-day average for Covid-19 cases stands at 44,145 a day.
The government has warned that working from home and vaccine passports could be introduced if the NHS is at risk of being overwhelmed.
But Mr Taylor has said action needs to brought in now or it will derail efforts to tackle the backlog of 5 million patients waiting for treatment, reports the Guardian.
He added: "We are right on the edge – and it is the middle of October. It would require an incredible amount of luck for us not to find ourselves in the midst of a profound crisis over the next three months.
"The government ought to not just announce that we’re moving to plan B, but it should be plan B plus. We should do what’s in plan B in terms of masks … working from home, but also we should try to achieve the kind of national mobilisation that we achieved in the first and second waves, where the public went out of their way to support and help the health service.”
"We need that same sense of pulling together over the next few months, trying to avoid risky behaviour if it’s not necessary.
"This is not a question of if we don’t do it something might happen. If we don’t do it, it would take a miracle for us not to find ourselves in the midst of a really profound crisis in our health and social care system over the next three months.”
Scientists are also urging ministers to introduce plan B.
Prof Christina Pagel of UCL said: "We are now seeing cases and hospital admissions rising steadily and an out of control epidemic within schools.
"The government must switch to its plan B immediately and accelerate rollout of vaccines, including to those who are yet to be vaccinated at all or are just on one dose."
Prof Rowland Kao, a member of the SPI-M advisory committee, speaking in a personal capacity, added: "Light touch measures, especially where these are unlikely to negatively impact people’s livelihoods or cause indirect harm, should be welcome … I do think they would be helpful now."
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Source : https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/uk-news/boris-johnson-urged-implement-winter-21909198542