Government warned Covid Plan B measures through March ‘would cost up to £ 18bn’

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The government is considering putting in place so-called Plan B measures to deal with rising Covid-19 rates in the country – but Boris Johnson is warned it could cost the economy up to £ 18 billion.

The Prime Minister is under increasing pressure to introduce new measures – including compulsory masks in public places and working from home – before what many predict will be an incredibly difficult winter for health and care services.

Now Politico has obtained documents drafted by the Cabinet Office and Treasury Covid-19 task force, which confirm that the government is seriously considering switching to its Plan B mode – with a “assumption” that it would all be in place. throughout the year. winter until the end of March 2022.

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However, ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s big budget speech tomorrow, newspapers warn that switching to Plan B would cost the economy between £ 11bn and £ 18bn until March 2022, or more than £ 800m per week.

The document says it will have a big impact on businesses as millions return to work from home.

In addition to masks and working from home, Plan B measures could see the introduction of so-called vaccine passports, where people have to prove they are double-stung before going to mass events and in nightclub.

According to Politico, government analysis found that such Covid certification would reduce transmission during these events by 40-45%, but warned that because only 2-13% of overall community transmission takes place in of the places covered by the certification system, there would only be a “moderate impact of reduced community transmission”.

The documents concluded that vaccine passports are “likely to have a positive impact on reducing transmission, although it is not possible to say precisely by how much” – and there are concerns that they may have a ” high impact ”on the economy.

The government has so far resisted the move to Plan B measures, despite rising covid cases and warnings from NHS leaders about the huge and growing pressure on health services.

These assessments clearly fear that the switch to Plan B will have a huge impact on the economy, while potentially not doing enough to bring down rising virus rates.

A government spokesperson told Politico: “We knew the coming months would be tough, which is why we presented our fall and winter plan last month. Plan B ensures that we are ready, if we are to act, to avoid an unsustainable increase in hospitalizations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS. “

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