To avert a "meltdown in the heart of winter," numerous government scientists cautioned that social distancing and masks must be reinstated. They called the present infection rate "unacceptable" and claimed that vaccinations alone would not be adequate to keep Covid under control throughout the winter months.

It comes amid rising optimism among No10's modellers, who believe that due to improving natural immunity and booster shots, daily cases might drop to only 5,000 cases next month without any restrictions. Almost half of the population has now had a third vaccination, and hospitalisations have dropped by half in the last month.

Professor Openshaw, a member of SAGE and the Nervtag, said “the actions in Plan B are sensible and not very disruptive. It's not difficult to establish clear guidelines for the use of face masks, and working from home, if possible, is also not very inconvenient for many individuals.”

Javid warns that Covid cases could hit 100,000 a day in UK | Financial Times

"What we're dealing with right now is unacceptable; one in every 55 people is infected. This is due to a lack of clear message on sensible measures that we should all be doing to prevent the spread of infection," he said.

However, the Health Secretary expressed optimism today, saying that there was nothing in the Covid data to cause alarm. When asked if he believes Christmas is "safe," he replied, "I believe it is as long as we all do what we need to do, everyone has a role to play in this. We can make it happen by getting our vaccinations."

Mr Javid stated that taking personal safeguards should be sufficient to allow individuals to get through winter without restrictions. “The facts right now are that we don't think the data requires us to shift to Plan B,” Mr Javid said, rejecting the call to switch to Plan B now.