England will follow Wales on face masks and working from home if Covid situation gets worse
England will follow Wales and reinstate face masks in some settings and ask people to work from home where they can if the Covid situation gets worse over winter, the UK Government health minister has said.
Sajid Javid said they could also require vaccine passports in some settings if they have to move to ‘Plan B’. That would be a big decision, and it would have to be justified by data, he told the House of Commons.
He added that the government’s winter plan also includes continued reliance on testing, tracing and self-isolation.
In Wales, it is still a legal requirement for face coverings to be worn in all indoor places open to the public apart from hospitality settings and wedding or civil partnership.
The Welsh Government have also announced a long-term ambition to see around 30% of Welsh workers working from home or near from home, including after the threat of Covid-19 lessens.
Like Wales, England will also move to jab 12-15 year olds and provide a booster for everyone in groups 1-9 – that is, residents in a care home for older adults, staff working in care homes for older adults, health care workers, and everyone over 50.
Sajid Javid also added that some elements of the Coronavirus Act would be repealed, including some that pertain to the justice system in England and Wales including allowing video proceedings in Magistrates’ Court.
“We have seen how quickly this virus can adapt and change so we have prepared a Plan B of contingency measures that we can call upon only if they are needed and supported by the data to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS,” Sajid Javid said.
“These measures would be communicating clearly and urgently the need for caution. Legally mandating face coverings in certain settings.
“Whilst we’re not going ahead with mandatory vaccine-only Covid-status certification now, we will be holding that power in reserve. As well as these three steps, we’d consider a further measure of asking people to work from home if they can for a limited time if that is supported by the data.
“Any responsible government must prepare for all eventualities, and although these measures are not an outcome anyone wants, it’s one we need to be ready for just in case.”
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