Downing Street is once again saying it does not “see any data to suggest that further restrictions would be the right approach” to tackle Covid in England.
The prime minister’s official spokesman says that while the public should be in “no doubt” that it will be a “difficult” time for the NHS, there are “significant mitigations in place for our NHS to help them through what is going to be a very challenging winter”.
He also confirms that all government departments have been asked to look at how they would mitigate against as much as a quarter of their workforce being absent.
He says that in some circumstances that would involve a military aid request but that would not apply in all circumstances and there was no blanket requirement for military assistance.
On testing, the government is massively increasing capacity for both PCR and lateral flow tests, the spokesman says.
“We’re doing, I think, roughly around 1.5 million tests across the system each day, which, as I say, is the largest in the world, so there is testing capacity available for those who need it, but we will keep that under review, depending on how prevalence tracks over the coming weeks,” he says.