He confirmed the move in a Downing Street news conference yesterday evening.
In response to and in a bid to curb the spread of the Omicron variant in England, the Prime Minister said in the news briefing yesterday – which he hosting alongside Professor Chris Whitty, and Sir Patrick Vallance – that it was now the “proportionate and responsible thing to move to Plan B”, adding that the reason for this being that it’s become “increasingly clear that Omicron is growing much faster than the previous Delta variant.”
Mr Johnson added: “We can’t yet assume that Omicron is less severe… and it could lead to a big to a big increase in hospitalisations and sadly deaths.”
The confirmation of the move to ‘Plan B’ comes after the Prime Minister has continued to deny that a Christmas party that broke COVID-19 restrictions took place at Downing Street last December, with many accusing the government of introducing
He said in the conference that he “understands how infuriating it must be” to hear of rules being broken by the people who set them in the first place.
‘Plan B’ was first referenced back in September when the government set out its plan for tackling coronavirus over the winter period, with a set of measures to prevent the NHS “coming under unsustainable pressure”.
But what exactly is Plan B? What are the new measures that are set to be introduced in England? And when do they take effect?
Here’s everything you need to know.
What is ‘Plan B? ‘?
As mentioned, the government outlined a set of measures as part of its Autumn and Winter COVID plan that would be brought in “if the data suggests the NHS is likely to come under unsustainable pressure”.
Those measures are:
Guidance to work from home “if you can”.
The reintroduction of a legal requirement to wear face masks in “most public indoor venues”, including theatres and cinemas – with exceptions “where it’s not practical, including while eating, drinking, exercising or singing”.
NHS COVID passes for nightclubs, unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people, and any venue with more than 10,000 people.
Daily testing for people identified as a contact of a COVID-19 case – with isolation required only for people who test positive.
Plan B was drawn up before the Omicron variant emerged, and only applies to England.
The government had already announced that as of 30 November, the wearing of face coverings would become a legal requirement in shops, banks, post offices, hairdressers, and on public transport in England – but from Friday 10 December, they will be mandatory in “most public indoor venues.”
The reintroduction of the guidance to work from home “if you can” will take effect from Monday 13 December.
NHS Covid Passes will be introduced from Wednesday 15 November.
The measures will be debated in parliament next week, with a vote expected to take place on Tuesday 14 December.
How long will the measures be in place for?
The government says it will keep the data under “constant review”.
Just like it has been throughout the COVD-19 pandemic, there will be a review of the measures after three weeks, but these regulations are set to expire six weeks after implementation.
Taken together, the government says it is “hopeful” these measures will reduce transmission and slow the spread of the Omicron variant, and will continue to urge those eligible to get their boosters jabs when called.
Featured Image – Unsplash | NHS
Police search for man who threw punch at Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith boxing match
Police are searching for man who threw his own punch at the AO Arena after Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith boxing match.
The man in question is believed to have vaulted over a barrier inside the arena just as the match itself came to an end.
He then punched a man sat behind him in the face, before making off on foot.
He left two women and a man he was with behind.
Police are now appealing to witnesses of the assault on Saturday 21 January 2023 to come forward with any information.
CCTV images of the suspect have been released by GMP.
They said in a statement: “Police are appealing for witnesses to an assault at the AO Arena on Saturday 21 January 2023 after the Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith boxing match.
“It is reported that then man (pictured) vaulted over a barrier inside the arena just as the boxing match finished, and struck a man sat behind him in the face.
“The offender then made off on foot, leaving two women and a man he was with, behind.
“Officers believe that the suspect is possibly from the Merseyside area. If you know the man or have any information relating to the crime, please contact GMP on 101, quoting reference number INC/0075491/23.
“Alternatively, information can be passed anonymously to the independent charity – Crimestoppers – on 0800 555 111.”
Featured image: GMP
Salford police officer sacked for ‘depraved’ relationship with vulnerable woman
A police officer has been sacked after carrying out an ‘improper relationship’ with a crime victim.
Paul Banks, who worked as a PC in Salford, has been dismissed and barred after a Gross Misconduct Hearing on 24 and 25 January 2023.
In the hearing, a panel heard how Banks had advised a vulnerable woman to create an email account – which he then accessed to view images and videos, some of which were explicit, that she had uploaded.
He viewed the content more than 200 times and never reported them to his manager or the force’s Professional Standards Branch.
In the end, his own colleagues sensed that something was amiss and raised the alarm.
GMP has now slammed Banks’s ‘depraved behaviour’ and stressed that ‘there will never be a place in GMP for anybody who behaves like him’.
A statement also said that he ‘abused his position of trust’.
Detective Chief Superintendent Michael Allen, head of GMP’s Professional Standards Branch, said: “Banks knew full well that his conduct was egregiously wrong.
“By cultivating an improper relationship with a vulnerable member of the public who he met in the course of his policing duties, the officer has been deservedly sacked from GMP.
“Not only has he disgraced himself, but his depraved behaviour dishonours policing and undermines the principled endeavours of his colleagues, who everyday do a valiant job catching criminals and protecting our communities.
“Indeed, it was Banks’ own colleagues who sensed something was amiss and triggered the first step in a process that rooted him out.
“The prudence of his colleagues is to be commended and I am grateful to the IOPC for conducting an investigation that left no stone unturned.
“No decent member of the police service wants to work with the likes of Banks and there will never be a place in GMP for anybody who behaves like him.
“He abused his position of trust and for that the Office of Constable has been rightly stripped from him.
“GMP is a better force without Banks and we will recruit a new officer into his post who will discharge their duties with honour and espouse the professional and compassionate values of the GMP workforce.”
Banks, who had been on restricted since the investigation began in December 2020, was dismissed without notice.