Boris Johnson’s five-point winter COVID plan was unveiled today – and hails as the main wall of defence.
Sajid Javid laid out the government’s strategy to keep the virus at bay in the colder months, when the NHS usually comes under stress.
The health secretary panicked when he announced Plan B measures to work from home and even revive the hated vaccine passport.
But he assured that the drastic measures were only contingency sanctions if the preferred plan of action failed to contain a new spike.
1. Jabs Blitz
Ministers are banking on a new vaccine that will throw a protective shield on the winter-going population.
Boffin at the JCVI JOBS taskforce today gave the green light to an autumn booster campaign for those over 50 and the most vulnerable.
Children aged 12-15 will be given a single shot of Pfizer to prevent classrooms from becoming Covid hotbeds as schools return.
The government will redouble efforts to encourage non-vaxable Britons to confiscate.
Mr Javid told Commons: “The latest figures from the ONS show that about 99 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the first half of this year were people who had not received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.”
2. Test, Trace and Isolate
The test, trace and isolate system will remain in place, with free rapid tests still available for asymptomatic Brits.
Routine testing will be introduced in schools and high risk settings.
Mr Javid said the new test at Leamington Spa will boost “MegaLab” PCR testing.
And he assured that the poor people who are forced to self-isolate will be given cash.
The health department said: “We don’t want people to face difficulty in performing their duty and self-isolating.”
3. NHS Cache Injection
The NHS is grappling with not only Covid cases – but also a huge backlog of non-Covid patients who were admitted during the lockdown.
Mr Javid has warned that the backlog could reach 13 million and “will get worse before it gets better”.
Last week the prime minister announced a further cash increase of £5.4 billion to increase capacity over the next six months for healthcare.
Mr Javid also said he expected the hospital and care workers to be closed.
4. Flu Jabs
Ministers and doctors fear the seasonal flu outbreak could put further pressure on the NHS.
Mr Javid said: “With our COVID-19 vaccination programme, the next few months will see the largest flu vaccination campaign this country has ever seen.”
The government will also try to limit the spread of winter insects by urging people to meet outside, ventilate rooms, wash hands and wear masks.
5. International Measures
HealthSec said strict border controls would be put in place to root out any dangerous forms entering the UK.
He added: “We will maintain our strong defense at the border, which will allow us to identify and respond to types of concern.
“It is this protection, and the progress of vaccination campaigns here and abroad, that has allowed us to manage the risks, and once again begin to resume international travel.”
Meanwhile, the government is working with allies to intensify the jabs campaign in poorer countries.
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