Great Britain presents Covid plan for autumn and winter; Booster shots start next week
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a press conference at the Downing Street Briefing Room on September 14, 2021 in London, England.
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LONDON – UK lawmakers on Tuesday outlined the government’s autumn-winter plan to cope with the coronavirus crisis and set out a set of guidelines aimed at averting the need for further lockdowns.
It comes shortly after UK officials gave the go-ahead to offer Covid-19 vaccine boosters to vulnerable people and anyone over 50 six months after their second dose.
The UK’s Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee said it recommended using the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for the booster dose or, alternatively, a half dose of a Moderna shot.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said he had accepted this advice from the JCVI and the National Health Service in England is expected to start next week. The Wales Minister of Health has accepted JCVI’s advice on booster vaccines.
Health and care policy is distributed across the UK, with different provisions in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Regardless, all children aged 12 to 15 in England are offered a dose of the Pfizer BioNTech Shot. The move, which is following in the footsteps of many other countries, is designed to help reduce interruptions in education.
In a speech on Tuesday afternoon at a press conference on Downing Street, Prime Minister Boris Johnson compared the current situation with the same period a year earlier.
In a way, “our position is actually more challenging today,” Johnson said, citing a much higher number of Covid cases. “But in many other crucial respects the British, all of us together and individually, are incomparably better able to fight the disease.”
The Prime Minister said more than 80% of people over the age of 16 are now fully vaccinated and 90% of adults have Covid antibodies.
Caroline Nicolls receives on 13.
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When asked what might be the trigger for the government to adopt so-called “Plan B” emergency measures, Johnson replied, “I think just consider what we are trying to prevent, and that is overpowering the NHS remains the goal . “
“What I want to emphasize about Plan B is that it has a number of different settings in the locker. And you wouldn’t necessarily play them all at once, on the contrary. You want to do things in a tiered manner,” said Johnson called.
The UK government’s chief scientific advisor, Patrick Vallance, said at the Prime Minister’s side that the link between Covid infections and hospital stays will be an important indicator for autumn and winter.
Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, added that the rate of change in hospital admissions and the overall health of the NHS would also be closely monitored.
What is the plan?
In an address to lawmakers in the House of Commons, Javid outlined what he called the “five pillars” of government’s fall-winter Covid plan. These pillars related to vaccine uptake, testing, tracking and isolation, NHS and social welfare support, government guidance and communication, and an international approach to the pandemic.
Under the guidelines, Javid said support for those self-isolating would continue, with PCR testing as well as symptom-free lateral flow testing remaining available for free.
Contact tracing through the NHS testing and tracing system will also continue, and financial and practical assistance will be provided to those eligible.
Sajid Javid, UK Health Secretary, left, and Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister, during a press conference at number 10 Downing Street in London, UK on Tuesday 7 September 2021.
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The Minister of Health suggested that it was “very likely” that health care workers and those who work in social institutions would be exposed to mandatory Covid vaccines to protect their surroundings.
People are encouraged to meet outdoors whenever possible in the fall and winter to keep seasonal respiratory illnesses like flu and covid at bay, Javid said. The government will also try to publish a new framework for international travel.
Should the NHS come under “unsustainable” pressure in the coming months, Javid said the government has a “Plan B” of emergency measures that could be put in place in England. These included the ability to make mask compulsory in certain environments, vaccination certificates for events and the promotion of remote work.
Winter could be “bumpy at times”
Professor Neil Ferguson, a senior epidemiologist from Imperial College London, said earlier this week that another nationwide lockdown in the coming months cannot be “completely” ruled out.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program on Monday, Ferguson was asked if another lockdown might be needed after the country’s vaccination campaign. “I hope so,” he said. “I don’t think you can rule everything out completely, but I hope so.”
“I think with this level of immunity we have among the population, a full lockdown may not be required if we need to further reduce transmission,” Ferguson said.
To date, the UK has recorded nearly 7.3 million Covid cases and 134,587 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
On Monday, the country reported 30,825 new coronavirus cases and 61 deaths within 28 days of testing positive. This compares with 29,173 infections and 56 deaths on Sunday, while over 41,000 cases and 45 deaths were reported around that time last week.
Shoppers pass a Swatch Group AG watch shop in London, Great Britain on Wednesday, October 21, 2020.
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England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, warned Tuesday that the coronavirus crisis could “get bumpy at times” in the coming months.
He said other respiratory viruses were “very likely” to return during this period and said the government’s goal was to “keep track”.
In winter, people tend to spend more time indoors with less ventilation and less personal space than in summer.
Respiratory infections like coronaviruses are transmitted through droplets released when you cough or sneeze. Health experts say colder and drier conditions in winter greatly affect the transmission of flu-like diseases.