SOLDIERS may be deployed to ease the wave of crippling key worker absences fuelled by Omicron.
Cabinet Ministers have been told to hammer out back-up plans in case vital sectors creak under the strain of staff shortages.
Although Omicron is markedly milder than previous variants, the sheer number of cases have left up to a million people self-isolating and threatening widespread disruption to schools and the economy.
Ministers also say the combination of boosters and Plan B measures are “working” and are not expected to announce fresh measures.
Boris Johnson is resisting furious calls from Tory MPs to cut the isolation period from seven to five days to help speed up the return to work.
Ministers say it could spectacularly backfire and possibly lead to more infections overall.
Government departments covering crucial industries have modelled worst-case scenarios for shortages.
They have even been told to map out when they are likely to need the help of the military, according to The Times.
Troops could be asked to drive ambulances or beef up Border Force personnel if the situation gets so bad.
MPs are demanding the PM reduces isolation to alleviate the pressure that is causing disruption on the first day back of schools.
But Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup said today: “We don’t feel it’s appropriate to reduce it any further because we will be very concerned that people will still be infectious and be able to pass on the disease.”
Despite rising cases of the super-strain, ministers are increasingly confident that hospitals will not become overwhelmed as feared.
The PM yesterday said Omicron is “plainly milder” than previous variants following studies showing it is up to 70 per cent less severe.
Sajid Javid is expected to stick to the plan of working from home, indoor masks and Covid passports – and boosters – when Parliament returns tomorrow.
Ahead of the announcement Ms Throup told Sky News this morning: “Plan B is working, as you can see from the number of hospitalisations, it’s far, far fewer than this time last year and that’s so important as well, that the vaccines are working, the measures for people to work from home are working.
“The Prime Minister said that Plan B is working and there’ll be a Cabinet meeting today, and I don’t see any reason why we need to change. It’s important we do follow the data.”