Ministers expected to sign off plan B Covid rules for England

Watch: COVID-19: Boris Johnson minded to move to Plan B of rules this week, Sky News understands

Rules on home working and vaccine certification likely to be among changes brought in to tackle Omicron surge

Ministers are expected to sign off new rules to impose home working and vaccine certification across England in the face of rising Covid cases, the Guardian understands.

Downing Street said no final decisions had been made but ministers and officials convened on Wednesday to move to plan B and to begin
imposing some restrictions as early as Wednesday night.

Ministers are increasingly worried about the threat of the Omicron variant, which appears to be more transmissible than Delta and scientists believe could become dominant within the next few weeks.

They are concerned that it risks overwhelming the NHS in another Covid wave even if no more serious than Delta, because of the speed with which it appears to be spreading.

The move comes as the government is under intense pressure over the Christmas party and a leaving do held in No 10 during last year’s lockdown.

Tory MPs have warned that the public may be unwilling to follow fresh Covid restrictions after a video emerged of Downing Street aides joking and laughing about a social gathering last Christmas, while limits on socialising were in force.

A Whitehall source told the Guardian: “You can say it’s a distraction but it’s necessary. My worry is that we’ve lost our hearing with the public on this and we can’t do proper comms.”

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