The Government is under fire from NHS leaders and some scientists for not implementing its Plan B, which could see some restrictions come back into force.

The plan is designed to protect the NHS from 'unsustainable pressure' – though there is no agreed definition of what that means.

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So what will actually happen if Plan B is implemented?

It will mean the return of mandatory face coverings indoors - likely to include buses, trains and shops.

Vaccine passports will be introduced to gain entry to nightclubs and large events such as concerts and football matches.

People would be advised to work from home again if they can.

What has the Government said?

The Prime Minister acknowledged the Covid case numbers were 'high' but said they were 'within the parameters' forecast by scientists advising the Government.

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Speaking during a visit to a primary school in Northern Ireland, he said the most effective way of combating the disease was to press ahead with the booster jab programme.

He said: “We are continuing with the plan we set out in July. We are watching the numbers very carefully every day.

"You get the call, get the jab. We have done about four million booster jabs already but as soon as you become eligible, as soon as you get that call, everybody over 50 should be getting that jab."

What do pubs and restaurants think?

UK Hospitality chief Kate Nicholls has warned that the Christmas season is 'desperately important' for the survival of pubs, bars and restaurants as it resists calls for Plan B to be brought in.

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She said: “A lot of businesses are still fragile. Any knock at this point in time could have an impact on viability. People will just go to the wall.”

Phil Urban, boss of pub and restaurant chain Mitchells & Butler, has also said: “People are very nervous and if you move to Plan B, it puts Christmas at risk.

“The industry is not out of the woods, and just as we get our momentum back we’d have the rug pulled out from under us.”

How many Covid cases are too many?

The Government has said it is looking at all the data in the round on a daily basis, including Covid-19 cases, hospital admissions and deaths.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has repeatedly warned that recorded cases could hit 100,000 per day over the winter.

For now, deaths are nowhere near previous peaks and are averaging around 136 per day.

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