Boris Johnson Winter Plan 2021: What did the PM reveal for combatting Covid

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Boris Johnson Winter Plan 2021: What did the PM reveal for combatting Covid
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Boris Johnson has revealed plans for combatting Covid-19 through the autumn and winter months on Tuesday.

Covid laws that are no longer required will be ditched and plans for vaccine passports for nightclubs and other large crowd venues have been shelved.

Mr Johnson focused on pushing more vaccinations instead of enforcing another winter lockdown.

“We’ve got to do everything that’s right to protect the country,” he said.

“But the way things are going at the moment we’re very confident in the steps that we’ve taken.”

When is the Winter Plan review and what time is Boris Johnson’s announcement?

The Prime Minister addressed the nation in a televised news conference.

The announcement took place around 3.30pm.

Mr Johnson was joined by chief medical adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty.

Will there be any winter lockdowns?

The Prime Minister said the success of the vaccine rollout gave him the “confidence” the country would not have to have more lockdowns.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, he said he was “confident in the vaccines that have made such a difference to our lives”.

He said: “When you’ve got a large proportion, as we have now, with immunity, then smaller changes can make a bigger difference and give us the confidence that we don’t have to go back to the lockdowns of the past.”

Lockdowns in winter will be “absolutely the last resort”, the vaccine minister confirmed earlier on.

Mr Zahawi told Sky News: “Lockdowns will be an absolutely last resort.

“What we’re trying to do at the moment is to transition this virus from pandemic to endemic through a massive vaccination programme.”

Will children be vaccinated?

The UK’s four chief medical officers recommended on Monday that 12 to 15-year-olds be vaccinated against coronavirus.

England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and his counterparts from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said they should be offered one dose of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

The nature of the roll-out may vary by borough but is likely to centre on pop-up clinics in secondary schools.

In a statement, health secretary Sajid Javid said he had accepted the recommendation which would “protect young people from catching Covid-19, reduce transmission in schools and keep pupils in the classroom.”

Rollout to the cohort in England will begin next week

Who will receive the Covid booster vaccine?

Booster jabs will be offered to millions of people from next week alongside annual flu jabs.

Those eligible include anyone aged 50 and over, people living and working in elderly care homes, and frontline health and social care workers.

All those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and anyone aged 16 to 65 in an at-risk group for Covid (who were included in priority groups one to nine during the initial vaccine rollout) will also be eligible for a jab.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be used as the booster dose for around 30 million people, with experts saying it is safe to be given alongside the usual winter flu jab.

On booster doses Mr Javid said: “There’s evidence that the protection offered by Covid-19 vaccines reduces over time, particularly older people who are at greater risk, so booster doses are an important way of keeping the virus under control for the long-term.”

He added: “They (JCVI) recommended that people who were vaccinated in Phase 1, that is priority groups one to nine, should be offered a booster vaccine, that this vaccine should be offered no earlier than six months after the completion of the primary vaccine course and that as far as possible the booster programme should be deployed in the same order as Phase 1.”

“I can confirm that I have accepted the JCVI’s advice and that the NHS is preparing to offer booster doses from next week.”

What is happening with travel?

The travel traffic light system is expected to be scrapped and PCR tests will no longer be required for fully vaccinated travellers.

Further updates will be announced in the next travel review on Wednesday or Thursday.

Several holiday destinations are at risk of going onto the red list, with Jamaica, St Lucia, Grenada and Serbia among those to watch.

A new “framework for international travel” is expected to be released in weeks, the Health Secretary confirmed.

Sajid Javid addressed the Commons on Tuesday afternoon where he explained Transport Secretary Grant Shapps would provide further updates on international travel ahead of the formal review point on October 1.

Since May, a travel traffic light system has been in place which lists each country as green, amber, or red with different practices for each one.

Mr Javid teased PCR tests could be binned for travel and double-jabbed travellers could be asked to use cheaper lateral flow tests.

Tory MP Huw Merriman, who chairs the Transport Select Committee, asked if Mr Javid would “entertain the idea of moving to lateral flow tests, which are cheaper, and then only the small proportion of positive cases will then need to take up a PCR test”.

Mr Javid said: “I don’t want to pre-empt the statement by the transport secretary but I believe that when he makes that statement, he will be pleased.”

At the weekend, he had said the PCR tests should not be in place “for a second longer than is absolutely necessary” and he wanted to get rid of them “as soon as I can”.

Elsewhere, Boris Johnson addressed the travel system in a press conference on Tuesday.

He said: “I appreciate that people are very frustrated about the travel rules but it is vital that we do whatever we can to stop the virus being reimported and particularly to control new variants when they are at risk of coming in.”

What about vaccine passports?

Ministers shelved plans to introduce mandatory Covid passes by the end of September. However, Mr Javid raised the prospect they could be brought in should pressure on the NHS become too great this winter.

Under the “plan B” set out to MPs on Tuesday, mandatory vaccine-only Covid-pass use could be required in settings including nightclubs; indoor venues with 500 or more attendees likely to be in close proximity to others, such as music concerts; outdoor settings with 4,000 or more people, such as festivals; and any settings with 10,000 or more people, such as sports events.

The Prime Minister has said the Government is “confident” nightclubs will not have to start checking the vaccination status of customers through a Covid-19 passport scheme.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, Boris Johnson said it might, however, be a choice between imposing vaccine passports and closing nightclubs altogether.

He said: “Of course I understand the frustrations of people wondering whether or not they’re going to have to put this in, (and) at the moment we’re confident that you will be able to proceed without it.

“The reason for wanting to have this option is because it’s a choice between proceeding with Covid-19 certification or, sadly, once again asking places to close, and I certainly don’t want to do that.

“That’s why I think it’s a good idea to keep this in reserve.”

What about face masks?

Mandatory face masks in some settings remain as an option under the winter “plan B”.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Meeting outdoors where possible or, if you need to be indoors, trying to let in fresh air.”

Mr Javid suggested: “Wearing a face mask in crowded, enclosed spaces where you can come into contact with people that you don’t normally meet.”

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