Return of face masks and working from home? Number 10 hints a ‘challenging’ winter could mean further restrictions amid claims booster jabs are being delivered too slowly while cases soar

- Advertisement -


  • Officials said Britain must prepare for a ‘challenging few months’ after 49.156 infections were recorded yesterday
  • Experts are concerned that the booster program was progressing too slowly
  • Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all significantly higher in the UK than in Western Europe

- Advertisement -

The specter of mandatory face masks, vaccine passports and work from home increased yesterday as a surge in Covid hospital cases warned Downing Street.

Britons should prepare for a ‘challenging few months’ after 49,156 infections were recorded yesterday – the highest figure in three months, officials said.

advertisement

Experts are concerned that the booster program was progressing too slowly and Sage members warned yesterday that ‘other measures’ may be needed to relieve pressure on the NHS.

Last night a spokesman for Boris Johnson said there are “currently no plans” to reimpose restrictions, but they are “keeping a very close eye on the latest figures”.

- Advertisement -

Britain led the world in the initial vaccine rollout, but now lags behind Italy, Spain and France in percentage of the population.

All people over 50 and medically vulnerable can get a booster jab six months after their second dose. But experts warn that at the current rate the most vulnerable won’t get their third vaccination until the end of January.

John Roberts of the Covid-19 Actuaries Response Group told Daily TelegraphAt the start of the booster campaign, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care said the aim was to protect the most vulnerable from Covid-19 as we move into the autumn and winter months.

‘But at the current rate, it is likely to be by the end of January, before the roughly 22 million who fall in the most vulnerable groups receive the booster.’

It comes as new radio and TV commercials urging older people to get a coronavirus booster jab and flu vaccines are set to debut later this week.

There is also concern about low vaccine intake in children. Only 15 per cent of 12 to 15-year-olds in England have taken their first dose, compared to one in ten who had the virus in the past week.

Last night a spokesman for Boris Johnson said there were “currently” no plans to reimpose restrictions, but they were “keeping a very close eye on the latest figures”.

Britons should prepare for a 'challenging few months' after 49,156 infections were recorded yesterday - the highest figure in three months, officials said

Britons should prepare for a ‘challenging few months’ after 49,156 infections were recorded yesterday – the highest figure in three months, officials said

Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all significantly higher in the UK than in Western Europe. There were 45 more deaths within 28 days of a positive test yesterday.

All people over 50 and medically vulnerable can get a booster jab six months after their second dose. But only 3.7 million out of 8.3 million have come forward so far.

Official data shows natural immunity is as good as being jabbed

Official data shows that recovering from covid provides as good protection as two doses of a vaccine.

The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) report published today found that non-vaccinated Britons who catch the delta variant are about 71 percent less likely to test positive for a second time.

It has been estimated that people given two doses of jabs of Pfizer or AstraZeneca have a reduced risk of infection by about 67 percent.

The ONS said there was ‘no evidence’ that the vaccines themselves offered more immunity than catching Covid, despite several other studies showing the opposite.

The findings are based on more than 8,000 positive tests across the UK between May and August, when the delta variant became dominant.

Scientists are still trying to figure out how long naturally acquired and vaccine immunity lasts.

Protection from jabs begins to wear off at around five months, which is why Britons over the age of 50 are being offered a booster dose this autumn.

But the duration of natural immunity remains somewhat of a mystery, made more complicated by the rise of new forms.

advertisement

If this slow pace continues, it will take until January to offer all people over the age of 50 a third time – their immunity waning all the time.

Last month Mr Johnson set out a ‘plan B’ for further restrictions – including masks, vaccine passports and work at home – if the virus progresses.

Officials have suggested it will start if hospitalizations start to top 1,000 a day – and the UK is getting closer to that figure. A further 915 Covid admissions were recorded in NHS hospitals yesterday, the highest figure in a month.

The PM’s official spokesperson said: ‘There are no plans to introduce Plan B at the moment. If we feel the NHS is coming under continued pressure, we retain that capacity.

‘We obviously keep a very close eye on the latest figures. We always knew that the coming months would be challenging.

Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of the Sage, told Radio 4’s World at One programme: ‘We should not be complacent because there is still a huge potential for the NHS to come under too much pressure and a lot of unnecessary deaths. .

‘So we need to increase vaccination rates and potentially be prepared to think of other measures if things get out of control.’

Yesterday head teacher unions called for allowing walk-in vaccination centers to be used in England to increase the number of children.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: ‘People who want to get vaccinated should be able to do so as soon as possible.

‘We know that because of the high level of cases among this age group some students wish they could not get the vaccine at school, either because they were absent that day or because they tested positive for Covid-19. Last 28 days.

Enforcement of Scotland’s Vaccine Passport Scheme went into effect yesterday.

Last month Mr Johnson set out a 'plan B' for further restrictions - including masks, vaccine passports and work at home - if the virus escalates (stock image)

Last month Mr Johnson laid out a ‘Plan B’ for further restrictions – including masks, vaccine passports and work at home – if the virus escalates (stock image)

This policy will apply to nightclubs, strip clubs and indoor events without seats more than 500 people, outdoor events without seats with more than 4,000 people.

Friday’s data from the Office for National Statistics showed coronavirus infection levels in England are approaching the peak seen at the height of the second wave and are being driven mostly by rates among school children.

Massive Covid testing in schools is creating ‘unnecessary chaos’ and should be ended, says senior doctor

A senior doctor has said that massive Covid testing in schools is creating ‘unnecessary chaos’ and should be ended.

Dr Camilla Kingdon, president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, also warned that children should not be left to ‘carry the burden’ of the pandemic.

Schools in England dropped almost all virus-control measures in July, except for twice-weekly testing of pupils. Those who get positive swab will have to stay at home for 10 days.

But amid rising infection rates among youth, some schools are quietly reintroducing measures including face masks and asking children to stay home if their siblings have the virus.

It comes as the NHS plans to unveil walk-in vaccine clinics for school children within weeks in an effort to accelerate the jabs rollout.

advertisement

Downing Street said, ‘Different countries are potentially at different stages of their vaccination programs and they have different measures, so it is difficult to compare and contrast.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘The important thing is that we strike the right balance between protecting lives and livelihoods.’

The government’s autumn and winter plan suggested some measures, including the mandatory use of vaccine passports and face coverings, may be needed in England if cases continue to put pressure on the NHS.

ONS figures show that nearly one in 10 school children aged seven to 11 in England were estimated to have had Covid last week, the highest positivity rate for any age group.

But a PA news agency analysis suggested there was a lower catch of Covid-19 among 12-15-year-olds.

Data shows that vaccination rates are as low as 5% in some areas, while only 15 local authorities in England have managed to deliver at least a quarter to 12 to 15-year-olds for the first time.

The picture is very different in Scotland, where even young people can receive jab doses at drop-in vaccination centres, as half of local authority areas already have more than 50% take-up.

There has been a demand to offer vaccines for under-16s at walk-in centers instead of school to promote take-up.

James Bowen, policy director for the school leaders union NAHT, said: ‘It would be a wise decision to allow 12-15 year olds to attend walk-in immunization centres.’

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘For the first time ever we are allowing jabs through school immunization services, a long-standing approach that has been used for flu and HPV jabs.

‘We are working closely with the schools, we are going to review the program for 12 to 15 year olds.’

The spokesman said a number of factors could be behind the problems with children getting jab in their arms, potentially including “disgusting” abuse and misinformation from protesters at the school gate.

“It is completely unacceptable for anyone to misbehave or misinformation towards parents, teachers or indeed children,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, French pharmaceutical firm Valneva, whose UK contract for the vaccine was canceled last month, has reported a positive result from its Covid-19 test.

- Advertisement -
Mail Us For  DMCA / Credit  Notice

Recent Articles

Stay on top - Get the daily news in your inbox

Related Stories