Tuesday 7 September 2021 11:25 am

Number 10 says there are no plans for an 'October Covid firebreak'

Number 10 has hosed down reports that the government is preparing for a potential Covid “firebreak” in October when cases are expected to rise.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman told journalists today that it is “not true the government is planning a lockdown or firebreak around the October half term”.

The i newspaper reported yesterday that the government was putting plans in place to impose restrictions next month as a part of a “firebreak” if Covid cases and hospitlisations surge.

A member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) told the i that the UK was about to experience “an extended peak” of cases and hospitalisations that could severely stretch the health service.

It has been predicted by some scientific advisers that cases could reach up to 100,000 a day as school returns and Britain enters the colder months of the year.

Johnson’s spokesman said: “It’s not true the government is planning a lockdown or firebreak around the October half term.

“We have retained contingency plans as a part of responsible planning for a range of possible scenarios. These scenarios would only be introduced as a last resort to take pressure off our NHS.”

There have been 263,885 Covid-19 cases in the past week, which is a 12.2 per cent seve-day rise.

However, deaths have remained fairly steady and have tallied 789 over the past seven days as the vaccine breaks the link between cases and serious illness.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi today said the rollout of a booster vaccine programme during autumn for the most vulnerable is crucial to ensure restrictions are not re-imposed.

He told Sky News that new restrictions are “the worst thing we can do to the economy and people’s livelihoods.”

“It is through the booster programme that I hope…we can transition the virus from pandemic to endemic status and deal with it year in, year out,” he said.