UK Covid stay: ministers should act now to prevent need for lockdown, urges Tony Blair | Politics


Good morning. At his information convention yesterday Sajid Javid, the well being secretary, pressured the position people should play in controlling coronavirus, urging folks to get booster vaccinations and to act responsibly. But there are various who’re saying the federal government should be doing extra now too, and the British Medical Association has develop into the newest physique to name for plan B to be applied instantly. My colleague Nadeem Badshah has the story.

But are the federal government’s major scientific advisers additionally in favour of a transfer to plan B now? They, in fact, should communicate for themselves, however it’s not arduous to guess the place their instincts lie. In July, when the federal government introduced the total opening up in England, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) mentioned opening up should proceed more slowly. In September, when the federal government revealed its plan for winter (together with a minimalist plan B, which has similarities to plan A in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), Sage called for plan B-style measures to be implemented immediately. And at that time Sir Patrick Vallance, the federal government’s chief scientific adviser, pressured that it was always important to “go early” when introducing measures to control rising cases.

On the Today programme this morning Edward Argar, a well being minister, was requested if the federal government was now ignoring recommendation from Vallance and others. Argar at first denied that, arguing that the federal government listened to a variety of recommendation, Argar mentioned. But when requested straight by Nick Robinson if Vallance was telling ministers it was proper not to implement plan B now, Argar wouldn’t say that. He went on:

What we now have to make a judgment name on is when is the fitting time to do plan B, and whether or not it’s the fitting time to do Plan B, and I can completely perceive what you, on behalf of your listeners, would need to say, ‘What is the binary moment … [that] triggers doing that?’ Sadly it’s not that easy as a result of there’s a variety of concerns and elements that need to be taken under consideration, one among which in fact is that strain on the NHS.

In an earlier interview, on Sky News, Argar was additionally requested if the federal government was following Vallance’s recommendation to “go early”. Argar replied:

I feel what Patrick’s saying there may be you’ve received to look forward …

I feel what Patrick is saying is all the time look to the longer term, think about when is the fitting second to act … I don’t assume we’re at that time but.

But really that isn’t actually what Vallance has been saying in any respect; Vallance’s argument is that the fitting second to act is generally earlier than it’s thought-about crucial.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: The Department for Education publishes faculty absence figures for England for autumn 2020 and spring 2021.

10am: Prof Sir Ian Diamdon, head of the Office for National Statistics, offers proof to the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee.

11am: The Department of Health and Social Care publishes its weekly take a look at and hint figures.

11am: Boris Johnson attends a service at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh to commemorate the centenary of Northern Ireland.

12.45pm: Thérèse Coffey, the work and pensions secretary, offers a speech on how pensions can contribute to internet zero.

Also, the Welsh authorities is at present publishing its well being and social care winter plan.

I count on to be masking Covid loads at present, however for wider coronavirus developments, do learn our world stay weblog.

I attempt to monitor the feedback beneath the road (BTL) however it’s unimaginable to learn all of them. If you may have a direct query, do embody “Andrew” in it someplace and I’m extra seemingly to discover it. I do attempt to reply questions, and if they’re of basic curiosity, I’ll put up the query and reply above the road (ATL), though I can’t promise to do that for everybody.

If you need to entice my consideration rapidly, it’s in all probability higher to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you may e mail me at

Edward Argar.

Edward Argar. Photograph: ITV/REX/Shutterstock

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