2021-09-14 10:56:17 Boris Johnson to Unveil Winter Covid-19 Strategy
Boris Johnson to Unveil Winter Covid-19 Strategy
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to outline a winter coronavirus strategy for England on Tuesday, with the goal of preventing a new surge in cases from overwhelming the National Health Service while avoiding another lockdown.
The government is expected to provide more information about its plans to provide booster shots to those whose immunity from vaccination may be waning, as well as what measures could be taken to respond to a potential spike in cases.
British officials are attempting to avoid the type of lockdowns that have prevented people from seeing family and friends in most outdoor settings for months, while also preventing another catastrophic winter surge like the one that hit the country last year.
The government’s plans could include reinstating the requirement to wear face coverings in public places or on public transportation, as well as advising people to work from home whenever possible.
The government announced on Sunday that it would not proceed with a vaccine passport plan that would have required nightclubs and other venues in England to check the status of those attempting to enter.
However, it has left open the possibility of reviving the strategy if the situation worsens. According to Health Secretary Sajid Javid, the government is also considering whether a vaccine booster shot could be “co-administered” alongside flu shots for older adults.
He almost completely ruled out another round of severe restrictions, saying that while it’s not out of the question, “I just don’t see how we get to another lockdown.”
Experts believe Mr. Johnson is unlikely to completely rule out another lockdown, presenting it as a last resort to be considered only if England faces a new and highly transmissible variant.
Mr. Johnson has frequently faced pressure from a vocal group of lawmakers in his Conservative Party’s libertarian wing who campaigned for the repeal of coronavirus rules over the last year.
Mr. Johnson gave them a lot of what they wanted in July, easing most legal coronavirus restrictions on what the tabloid media dubbed “freedom day.” According to government data, Britain now averages about 30,000 new coronavirus cases and 1,000 hospital admissions per day.
While this is far less than the 100,000 predicted by some experts, government officials are concerned that another surge is possible as children return to school and the weather worsens throughout the fall and winter.
On Monday, British health officials approved a mass coronavirus vaccination program for children aged 12 to 15, despite the reservations of some medical experts who questioned whether the shots would provide significant benefit to young people.
The announcement by the chief medical officers of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland comes after weeks of speculation about whether children in that age group would be allowed to receive the shots.