UK Covid stay: ministers ought to act now to forestall want for lockdown, urges Tony Blair | Politics

Good morning. At his information convention yesterday Sajid Javid, the well being secretary, careworn the function people should play in controlling coronavirus, urging individuals to get booster vaccinations and to behave responsibly. However there are a lot of who’re saying the federal government needs to be doing extra now too, and the British Medical Affiliation has grow to be the most recent physique to name for plan B to be carried out instantly. My colleague Nadeem Badshah has the story.

However are the federal government’s principal scientific advisers additionally in favour of a transfer to plan B now? They, in fact, should converse for themselves, however it’s not arduous to guess the place their instincts lie. In July, when the federal government introduced the complete opening up in England, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) stated opening up ought to proceed extra slowly. In September, when the federal government printed its plan for winter (together with a minimalist plan B, which is analogous to plan A in Scotland, Wales and Northern Eire), Sage referred to as for plan B-style measures to be carried out instantly. And at that time Sir Patrick Vallance, the federal government’s chief scientific adviser, careworn that it was at all times necessary to “go early” when introducing measures to manage rising circumstances.

On the In the present day 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 stated. However when requested straight by Nick Robinson if Vallance was telling ministers it was proper to not implement plan B now, Argar wouldn’t say that. He went on:

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

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

I believe what Patrick’s saying there may be you’ve bought to look forward …

I believe what Patrick is saying is at all times look to the longer term, take into account when is the appropriate second to behave … I don’t assume we’re at that time but.

However really that isn’t actually what Vallance has been saying in any respect; Vallance’s argument is that the appropriate second to behave is often earlier than it’s thought of mandatory.

Right here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: The Division for Schooling publishes college absence figures for England for autumn 2020 and spring 2021.

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

11am: The Division of Well being 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 Eire.

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

Additionally, the Welsh authorities is immediately publishing its well being and social care winter plan.

I anticipate to be protecting Covid quite a bit immediately, however for wider coronavirus developments, do learn our international stay weblog.

I attempt to monitor the feedback beneath the road (BTL) however it’s not possible to learn all of them. You probably have a direct query, do embrace “Andrew” in it someplace and I’m extra prone to discover it. I do attempt to reply questions, and if they’re of common curiosity, I’ll publish the query and reply above the road (ATL), though I can’t promise to do that for everybody.

If you wish to entice my consideration rapidly, it’s most likely higher to make use of Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you may electronic mail me at

Edward Argar.

Edward Argar. {Photograph}: ITV/REX/Shutterstock

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