By Ben Kerrigan-
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has poured water on plans for a reported ‘firebreaker’ lockdown in October.
Reports on Tuesday suggested the government had drawn up plans to introduce a new lockdown in October if Covid-related hospitalisations continued to rise.
It follows claims a statement yesterday from Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson that Downing Street has contingency plans for a lockdown as a last resort.
However, in a remarkable U turn, not new to the British government, another spokesperson of No 10 and Javid, denied the claims today, saying it was “not true that the government is planning a lockdown or firebreak around the October half-term”. However, he made it clear that further restrictions such as a two-week circuit breaker remained an option if the NHS were to be overwhelmed.
He told 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.
“I think the decisions that we’ve made in the last few weeks and certainly in the time I’ve been Heath Secretary, I think they’ve turned out to be the right decisions.”
He said no decisions are “risk-free” but insisted the “best defence” against another wave of the virus is the vaccine programme.
He added: “Vaccines are working. Yes, there are still infections, of course there still are. That’s true around the world. But the number of people going into hospital, and certainly those dying, is mercifully low, and that’s because of the vaccines.”
A Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters: “No, it is not true that the Government is planning a lockdown or firebreak around the October half-term.
“I think (vaccines minister) Nadhim Zahawi was asked a similar question this morning and made that clear as well.
“We have retained contingency plans as part of responsible planning for a range of scenarios, but these kind of measures would only be reintroduced as a last resort to prevent unsustainable pressure on our NHS.
“I think we’ve been clear throughout that we will take action, and indeed we have done when necessary to protect our
“But under the previous occasions when that action has been required, we have been without the significant defences that our vaccination programme provides us – we’re now in a much different phase.”