Coronavirus live: UK A&Es in ‘terrible place’ as chancellor rejects calls for immediate ‘plan B’

The UK chancellor Rishi Sunak said data did not suggest it was time to move to plan B.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme: “The prime minister has just said we are looking at the data all the time, as you would expect us to. We’re monitoring everything, But at the moment the data does not suggest that we should immediately be moving to plan B.

“But, of course, we’ll keep an eye on that.”

The best protection was vaccine and the booster rollout, he said.

Asked if he might reintroduce furlough if restrictions were reimposed, he said: “Of course, we should always be humble in the face of this virus. That’s obvious given what we have experienced.

“But we have confidence in the vaccine, have modelled all the scenarios, and we have said the winter will be challenging. The ‘plan B’ that we have set out does not involve the same type of very significant economic restriction that we saw previously, so that won’t be necessary.”

“I think we are in a very different place, because of the vaccine rollout.”

He added: “There is a fallback, There is a plan B. The data suggests it isn’t needed today. But if that changes then of course the government will be read to act. That’s why those plans are there”.

On encouraging people to work from home, Sunak said “depending on the circumstances, if we have to move forward on that, that’s what we will do. But again, I would reiterate so people are reassured, the data at the moment doesn’t suggest that that is immediately necessary, and our emphasis should be on making sure that everyone get their booster jab”.

On the possibility of vaccine passports, he said: ‘There’s a range of things we have set out in plan B.`And then there’s degrees of vaccine certification. Those debates have been had in parliament about where’s the appropriate boundary or place to introduce vaccine certification.

He added: “But right now, data does not suggest we need to move to plan B”.

Asked if MPs should lead by example and wear masks in the House of Commons, he said “every work place is slightly different” and he did wear a mask depending on the circumstances.

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