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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.”
Boris Johnson outlined his Covid winter plan which included booster jabs for those in care homes as well as for frontline health and social care workers.
He was speaking after the government explained its plan B to tackle Covid this winter if the NHS comes under unsustainable pressure.
Plan B includes vaccine passports and mask mandates among other potential ways to tackle the pandemic.
The Prime Minister refused to give specific details on how bad a future wave of covid-19 would have to get for the Government to impose its “plan B” restrictions which he said had “a number of different shots in the locker”.
Mr Johnson said vaccine passports would have been a “game changer” for businesses last year.
The Prime Minister told the Downing Street press conference: “If you think a year ago, where we were last September, can you imagine if we’d had then Covid certification?
“We would have been able, with that tool, to keep open businesses that had been forced to close and were going through an absolute wretched time. They would’ve been a game changer, a lifesaver, last year.
“So, I think they’re an important part of our repertoire.”
Mr Johnson said “we’re going to keep going” with the coronavirus strategy despite the risks.
He said: “The result of this vaccination campaign is we have one of the most free societies and one of the most open economies in Europe.
“That’s why we’re now sticking with our strategy. In essence, we’re going to keep going.”
But he warned higher levels of coronavirus cases mean “in one way our position today is actually more challenging” than last September.
The Prime Minister told the Downing Street press conference: “I want you to cast your mind back exactly a year and think where we were last September as schools went back and the colder months approached.
“Because in one way our position today is actually more challenging – we have higher levels of daily cases, thousands more, but in many other crucial respects the British people, all of us collectively and individually, are incomparably better-placed to fight the disease.”
He cited high levels of people being vaccinated as bringing greater protection but warned those who are not vaccinated are up to nine times more likely to die, depending on their age, than if they have had both jabs.
The Prime Minister has said ministers are considering “simplifying” the traffic light system for foreign travel.
Boris Johnson told a Downing Street press conference the Government was also considering what it could do to make “the burdens of testing less onerous for those who are coming back into the country” but did not offer further details.