Covid restrictions could be reintroduced at Christmas if Brits don't get booster jabs, minister warns

COVID restrictions could be reintroduced at Christmas if Brits don't get their booster jabs, a Government minster has warned.

Face masks, work from home orders and Covid passports could come back if the Government's so-called Plan B measures are enforced.

The emergency restrictions would only be used if cases spiral out of control and the booster jab program fails.

But Conservative Party Chairman Oliver Dowden today said it was up to the public whether the new controls would need to be imposed.

Mr Dowden told Sky News: "It is in our hands. If you get the booster when the call comes that is the biggest wall of defence that we have against Covid.

"I am confident that if we stick the course, people take the boosters when they are asked to do so, that vaccine wall will hold up and we will be able to have a decent Christmas this year.

"There are no plans to stop Christmas happening. The huge difference this time is the vaccine."

Over 46million people have had two doses of the Covid vaccine so far, while over 12million have had their booster jab.

Ministers are already drawing up schemes to ditch track and trace, as well as free Covid testing in the return to normal life.

They also want to remove the legal requirement for those who are infected to have to stay indoors, as the world learns to treat Covid like the flu.

The Sun's Give Britain A Booster campaign is urging people to get a third jab.

Mr Dowden's comments come after experts said over the weekend the UK will be able to “avoid” social distancing restrictions this winter because enough people have already had the killer virus.

Professor Neil Ferguson believes it's “unlikely” the UK will be forced into a lockdown like last year in the festive period and the booster programme will help.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he said: "I think it is unlikely we will get anything close to what we had last year, that catastrophic winter wave.

"We might see slow increases as we did in October, for instance, but not anything as rapid as we saw last year.

"We can't be complacent, but at the moment I don't think we'll be in a situation the Netherlands is coming into where they really do need to get on top of rising case numbers using social distancing.

"I very much hope we can avoid that in this country."

It comes after the Prime Minister warned that Covid “storm clouds are gathering” after concerning infection rates in Europe.

Some European countries, including the Netherlands, have already imposed a lockdown due to rising case numbers.

Currently 10 EU countries including Poland, Greece and the Netherlands are deemed of "very high concern".

Meanwhile Austria announced yesterday they were putting millions of people into lockdown from tomorrow who have not been fully vaccinated in an attempt to battle a surge in infections.

A total of 36,517 positive Covid infections were recorded on Sunday.

Another 63 deaths were recorded.


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