BRITS have been urged to wear face masks indoors again to stop the spread of Covid.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid gave the advice during a Downing Street press conference yesterday.
He said: “Life is not back to normal, I think everyone can see that, because the pandemic is still here.
He stressed that, aside from Covid vaccinations, people can take other measures such as meeting outdoors where possible, ensuring good ventilation, wearing masks in crowded spaces and taking lateral flow tests.
He said: “With winter soon upon us, these little steps make a big difference. And they’re more important now than they have ever been.”
It comes as:
On the threat of new variants, he said: “We need to be ready for what lies around the corner.
“This means our ongoing programme of booster jabs is so important and this winter we’re prioritising those most in need.”
He said England had reached a “milestone” of four million top-up jabs on Wednesday.
He said: “None of us want to go backwards now.
“So we must all play our part in this national mission, and think about what we can do to make a difference. That means getting the jab when the time comes, whether it’s for Covid-19 or flu.”
Mr Javid dangled the bleak prospect of tough winter restrictions like masks, working from home and vaccine passports to blunt another spike.
He said while Plan B contingency measures won’t happen “at this point” but begged Brits not to “blow it”.
Mr Javid also warned that hospitalisations – the key factor that could tip the balance towards restrictions – could spiral to 1,000 a day.
He used the Downing Street briefing to urge those eligible to have a third dose of the vaccine to top up their antibodies.
The top Tory said this was “not just to save lives, but to keep your freedoms too”.
Both he and Boris Johnson have backed The Sun’s Give Britain A Booster campaign amid concerns of low take-up rates and waning immunity.
Fears of fresh restrictions have grown in recent days amid a surge in Covid cases, hospitalisations and deaths – which yesterday reached their highest since March at 223.
NHS chiefs have called on ministers to enact their Plan B toolbox of contingency measures to supress a seasonal surge.
Mr Javid said last night: “We won’t be implementing our Plan B of measures at this point but we will be remaining vigilant.”
Medical expert Dr Jenny Harries added that infections, hospitalisations and deaths are all “moving in the wrong direction”.
Mr Javid warned: “We’ve come so far, thanks to the efforts of so many. But with winter ahead, we can’t blow it now.”