UK Covid: minister refuses to disclaim declare that authorities science advisers again transfer to plan B now | Politics

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

However are the federal government’s predominant scientific advisers additionally in favour of a transfer to plan B now? They, in fact, should converse for themselves, however it’s not laborious 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) mentioned opening up ought to proceed extra slowly. In September, when the federal government revealed its plan for winter (together with a minimalist plan B, which is analogous to plan A in Scotland, Wales and Northern Eire), Sage known 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 instances.

On the At present 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 spread of recommendation, Argar mentioned. However when requested instantly 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 now have to make a judgment name on is when is the correct time to do plan B, and whether or not it’s the correct time to do Plan B, and I can totally 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 spread of issues and components that have to be taken into consideration, one among 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’s you’ve obtained to look forward …

I believe what Patrick is saying is at all times look to the longer term, contemplate when is the correct second to behave … I don’t suppose we’re at that time but.

However truly that isn’t actually what Vallance has been saying in any respect; Vallance’s argument is that the correct second to behave is generally earlier than it’s thought-about needed.

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 check 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 web zero.

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

I anticipate to be overlaying Covid lots right now, however for wider coronavirus developments, do learn our international dwell weblog.

I attempt to monitor the feedback under the road (BTL) however it’s unattainable to learn all of them. If in case you have a direct query, do embrace “Andrew” in it someplace and I’m extra more likely 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 appeal to my consideration rapidly, it’s most likely higher to make use of Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you possibly can e-mail me at

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

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