FACEMASKS and working from home could be reintroduced if Covid cases surge this winter.
Both measures were dropping back in July – but are expected to be listed in Boris Johnson’s Covid Winter Plan which will be published on Wednesday.
It comes as worries are increasing that the NHS could come under major strain in the next few months if the UK is also hit with a bad flu season.
Mr Johnson’s plan is expected to lay-out how Britain can combat rising cases throughout the winter season while avoiding a nationwide lockdown, reports The Times.
No 10 guidance says the Government “may need to take measures to help manage the virus during periods of higher risk, such as winter”.
But it adds ministers “will as far as possible seek to avoid imposing restrictions that have significant economic, social and health costs”.
It’s thought the Prime Minister is determined to avoid damaging the hospitality industry or reclosing schools.
Instead, mandatory facemasks and work from home orders are among a number of measures that Downing Street is considering.
It comes as Mr Johnson is looking to extend “draconian” Covid powers for another six months.
Boris wants to keep the Coronavirus Act enshrined in law until March 2022, when it will automatically lapse after two years in force.
The legislation gives authorities and cops sweeping powers to restrict public gatherings, close premises, and force people to self-isolate.
But it also underpins pandemic safety nets like protecting renters from eviction and guaranteeing sick-pay for people in quarantine.
Dozens of Tory MPs are opposed to the move, with one MP branding renewals a “tyranny”.
Allies of the PM say the jabs rollout means this winter will be “different” but ministers refuse to rule out a return to some restrictions if the NHS looks under stress.
It is hoped the double shot whammy will keep pressure on the health service to within seasonal norms — despite hospital admissions steadily ticking up.
Meanwhile ministers will give the go-ahead to booster shots and the biggest flu jab rollout in history to ease pressure on the NHS.
An advertising blitz will urge the most vulnerable to get a third Covid jab and a flu shot to try to stop hospitals being overwhelmed if cases keep rising.
Figures published last night reveal that 8,085 Brits are in hospital with Covid — a six-month high.
The number has gone up by six per cent in a week and is at its highest since early March.
However, it is still well below the second peak in January when 39,254 were in hospital — the most since the pandemic began.
It comes after Boris Johnson told the nation Brits would have to “live with Covid” after lockdown restrictions ended.