The fears are based on information such as a recent recording of the highest number of UK deaths since March when, on October 19, a figure of 223 people died within 28 days of receiving a positive Covid-19 test result.
In addition to deaths, infections are rising steeply, with a little under 50,000 recorded on 18th October.
Whilst the last set of restrictions disappeared on July 19, the NHS has warned that steps may have to be take to stop a new crisis in winter, with recommendations that the authorities start ‘Plan B’ – a plan which will see the return of some restrictions.
But, despite assurances, is another lockdown on the way?
Understanding a firebreak lockdown
The firebreak lockdown is designed to last around 2 weeks, with the aim of allowing less pressure on the NHS. The firebreak lockdown incorporates measures such as social mixing limits, and is has the intent of putting the brake on transmissions.
Will we see another lockdown this year?
Even though ‘Plan B’ is a hot topic right now, the authorities have not yet given up on Plan A. How does Plan A word? Basically, the premise is to get as many as possible to take booster jabs, with an emphasis on high risk groups such as older folk, and those with compromised health conditions.
The problem though, is that getting booster acceptance has a significantly lower take up than was the case with the vaccine program. As of now, only 3.5 million haven taken it up, even though 8.5 million are eligible.
Despite the reliance on Plan A, Plan B could become the focus if infections and deaths continue to rise sharply. This would mean that masks could be once again compulsory in all locations, and remote work, together with vaccine passports could become mandatory.
To throw another spanner in the works, there is also the threat of a new variant, which, if it were to put pressure on the NHS, could mean that the authorities could have their hand forced in changing attack.
How Has Sajid Javed Responded?
Whilst there is no public acknowledgement that lockdowns are on the way, they have not been ruled out either, with Sajid Javed describing them as a ‘last resort’. In commenting on this, Javed said to Sky News:
‘I don’t think that’s something we need to consider. ‘I haven’t even thought about that as an option at this point.’
Echoing the thoughts of Sajid Javed, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has declared himself ‘dead set’ against further lockdowns. The authorities are determined to press ahead with learning to live with the virus.
So, will another lockdown happen before the end of 2021?
Summing it all up, the authorities are determined that another lockdown will not occur. However, given the sharp rise in cases…in October…a difficult winter lies ahead..one where the hands of change could be forced.