UK prime minister Boris Johnson is continuing to resist calls from health leaders for tighter Covid restrictions despite the rising levels of infections.
Mr Johnson acknowledged the numbers in England were “high” but said they were “within the parameters” forecast by scientists advising the Government.
Speaking during a visit to a primary school in Co Antrim, he said the most effective way of combating the disease was to press ahead with the booster jab programme.
His comments follow calls from the NHS Confederation and the British Medical Association (BMA) for ministers to activate their winter 'Plan B' for England amid fears the country's health service could be overwhelmed.
BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the refusal to introduce supplementary measures – including Covid passports, mask-wearing in crowded public spaces and a return to working from home – amounted to “wilful negligence”.
However, Mr Johnson said the successful rollout of the vaccination programme meant the country was in an “incomparably better” position than it was 12 months ago and that the British government was sticking with its Plan A.
“We are continuing with the plan we set out in July. We are watching the numbers very carefully every day,” he said in a pooled clip for broadcasters.
“The numbers of infections are high, but we are within the parameters of what the predictions were, what Spi-M (modelling group) and the others said we would be at this stage given the steps we are taking.
“We are sticking with our plan.”