A Government scientific adviser said he is ‘very fearful’ there will be another ‘lockdown Christmas’.

Professor Peter Openshaw, a member in the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Groups CO-CIN and SAGE subgroup CO-CIN said that current death rates and case numbers were unacceptable. 

Yesterday’s 1,000th Covid hospitalization in Britain was the highest in six weeks.

SAGE scientists argued that it was highly unlikely that the NHS would be infected by the virus this winter, even if there were no restrictions.

The Group for England predicted in their modeling that the combination of vaccine-acquired immunity as well as natural protection would be enough for hospitals to maintain rates below the levels seen in the second wave.  

This comes as No10 is warned by trade union leaders that it could be in for another “winter of chaos” if it doesn’t immediately adopt its Covid Plan B.

A joint statement from unions including the TUC, Usdaw, Unison, Unite, the GMB and Aslef representing 3million workers demanded the Government bring in policies including the return of home-working and face mask-wearing.

The unions — which represent workers in retail, transport, healthcare, in which working from home is challenging — said there are already ‘hundreds’ of Covid outbreaks in workplaces. 

Yesterday, Boris Johnson refused to comply with calls for tighter restrictions from health leaders despite rising levels of infection.

Sajid Javid, Health Secretary, said that new cases could reach 100,000 per day. However Downing Street maintained that there was still sufficient capacity in the NHS and that Plan B would only activate if it was under’significant pressure’. 

Modelling by SAGE predicted that the combination of vaccine-acquired immunity and natural protection would be enough to keep hospital rates below levels seen in the second wave. Even in the most pessimistic scenarios, the group estimated that daily Covid hospital admissions would not rise above 1,500. More optimistic models had them peaking at below 1,000 in winter. The above charts are based on modelling by Warwick University and look at how quickly people go back to pre-pandemic social contacts. It was based on the booster doses given 'sustained' immunity

SAGE’s modeling predicted that the combination vaccine-acquired immunity with natural protection would be sufficient to keep hospital rates down below the levels seen in the second wave. Even in the most pessimistic scenarios the group predicted that daily Covid hospital admissions wouldn’t rise above 1,500. They would be below 1,000 in winter, according to more optimistic models. These charts were based on Warwick University modeling and show how quickly people return to pre-pandemic social contacts. It was based on booster doses of’sustained immune system’.

Other SAGE modelling took into account 'repeated' waning from booster doses, and projected that hospital admissions could breach levels seen during the second wave in January under the worst-case projections

Other SAGE modeling took into account’repeated waning’ from booster doses and projected that hospital admissions would exceed levels seen during January’s second wave.

Boris Johnson insists there is nothing to indicate there will be another winter lockdown. 

Boris Johnson today said that there is nothing to indicate that there will yet be another lockdown in the winter. 

As he was being questioned about the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country, the Prime Minister said that a shutdown of the entire country is not possible. 

After Tory MPs and hospitality chiefs had urged the PM not to listen to calls from health bosses to activate the Government’s Covid-19 “Plan B”, he made his comments. 

Conservative MPs worry that continuing with the fall back strategy of telling people not to work from home and wearing face masks will lead to another lockdown.   

They insist there should be no return of draconian curbs. They claim that the Government shouldn’t be ‘bullied into’ imposing new rules by health leaders.

Meanwhile, hospitality bosses cautioned against imposing restrictions, telling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that many bars, restaurants and pubs would go to the wall’. 

The hospitality industry is concerned that even light touch restrictions could hit bookings and put ‘Christmas at risk’.

The Government has maintained that the triggering of Plan B is not imminent and that the current focus is on the rollout of vaccine booster shots. 

But ministers struck an ominous tone this morning as they said the blueprint is ‘there for a reason’.

Professor Openshaw, Imperial College London, said to BBC Breakfast, “I’m very scared that we will have another lockdown Christmas. If we don’t take action soon, I’m very worried.”

“We know that public health measures require immediate action. There is no point in waiting.

You must not delay if you want to take further action later. If you want to control things, it is essential that you respond quickly.

“We all want a wonderful Christmas as a family where we can all get together again.

“If this is what we want, then we need to put these measures into place now to bring down transmission rates so we can actually get together to see one another over Christmas.”

Professor Openshaw stated that it was unacceptable to let this run at the moment, adding: “I think the hospitals across the country are barely coping.

“Talking to people at the front lines, I believe it’s just too costly to continue at this pace.

“It’s just unacceptable to witness the number of deaths that are happening at the moment.

“At one stage last Wednesday there were 180 dead in a single day. That’s a lot of people dying. We seem to have gotten used to the idea of Covid causing many, many deaths.

“We must slow down transmission and really redouble effort to get everyone vaccinated, and all the boosters out. Then we can open up again.”

Prof Openshaw was questioned about his advice to those who are concerned about how they can stop the spread if the Government does not reintroduce the measures.

He stated that he believed it was up to each individual to take control of their own destiny. Do not wait for the Government to make policy.

“I’m very, extremely reluctant now to go in crowded spaces because about one in sixty people in a space are going get the virus.

Cycle to work if you can.

‘I believe you should do everything in your power to reduce transmission. Don’t wait to see if the Government changes its policy.

“The sooner we act, the quicker we can lower this transmission rate, and the greater the chance of having Christmas with our families.” 


Health Secretary Sajid Javid said new cases could reach 100,000 a day but Downing Street insisted there was still spare capacity in the NHS and that Plan B would only be activated if it came under 'significant pressure'

Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, stated that new cases could exceed 100,000 per day. Downing Street however insisted that there was still enough capacity in NHS and that Plan B would only activate if it came under significant pressure’

Only 4.5 million (green line) of the 9.3million eligible English citizens have received the crucial third dose. Ministers have urged people to come forward to get their inoculations.

SAGE insists NHS will be able to cope, and admissions are ‘unlikely to reach January peak’ even WITHOUT Plan A 

SAGE scientists insist it is ‘highly unlikely’ that the NHS will be infected by the virus this winter, even if there are no restrictions in advice. This justifies No10’s bold decision not to immediately resort to ‘Plan B. 

Modelling by SAGE for England predicted that the combination of vaccine-acquired immunity and natural protection would be enough to keep hospital rates below levels seen during the second wave. 

Even in the most dire central scenarios, the group estimated that daily Covid hospitalizations would not rise above 1,500 this Winter. Other models suggested that they would peak at less than 1,000, but that they could reach their peak next year. Daily numbers published daily by the Government include all four UK states.

SAGE forecasts assume that a modest 1.3 million elderly and vulnerable people will be given a Covid booster vaccination per week over the next months. This is roughly the same rate as the current rate and that 90 percent of eligible over-50s and NHS workers, as well as at-risk adults, take up the offer.   

SAGE stated in documents that were submitted to ministers last week, but not published today, that there was evidence that the third wave of hospitalisations had reached its peak.

But the panel of top scientists — which include Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty — warned against complacency, adding there was still a threat if people suddenly drop all precautions, vaccines suddenly wane in younger groups or a new variant becomes dominant. 

They urged the Government to ensure that contingencies are in place so that vaccine passports, face masks, and working from home can be quickly introduced in case the epidemic suddenly eludes the ‘optimistical’ models. If the measures are implemented quickly, they could make a big difference.

And the trade unions’ joint statement stated that they all wanted to defeat Covid once and for all. 

“But without taking decisive action now we risk falling asleep in another winter of chaos.”

“With hundreds of Covid-related outbreaks at workplaces being reported weekly to health authorities, events feel ominously similar to last winter.

“The government must take immediate action to reduce the spread and spread of Covid. Failure to do this will result in the loss of public health, frontline services, as well as the economy. 

The World Health Organisation warned that the vaccine alone would not be sufficient to eradicate the pandemic.

Spokesperson Margaret Harris said to Times Radio that the problem is focusing solely on one thing: The vaccine isn’t going to save us from this.

“We really must take other measures.

“We must be serious about not crowding. We must still consider wearing masks, indoors especially.

According to scientists, the Government must ensure Plan B restrictions against coronavirus can ‘rapidly’ deployed if necessary.

Experts from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), stated in minutes of a meeting published Friday that a new huge spike in infections like the January one was ‘increasingly likely’. This is because experts had predicted a series broader and flatter peaks as the virus spreads.

Sage however warned that measures from the Government’s Plan B would be most effective if taken in unison, and sooner rather than later.

Scientists support a more light-touch approach to transmission, which Sage says will have the greatest individual effect on transmission of the proposed measures.

The Times was told Friday by Rishi Sunak that the country could not go back to’significant economic constraints’. Boris Johnson, however, stated that a lockdown was not in the cards.

Kate Nicholls, UK Hospitality CEO, warned that businesses would not survive another winter under lockdown restrictions.

When she was asked by Times Radio whether she believed businesses would survive if the Government went ahead with Plan B, her blunt answer was: “No, I don’t.” We have already lost 12,000 companies.

She stated that when restrictions are in place, ‘consumers stay at home, they don’t go out and socialise’.