The number of daily COVID deaths has increased dramatically to 201 in just one day, after Boris Johnson revealed his winter COVID plan.
Britons are bracing for a tough season of restrictions following a sharp rise in the death toll, while another 30,597 cases were reported in the past 24-hour period.
This marks a significant jump in Covid deaths in the last seven days, when the UK had recorded 191 deaths and 38,975 positive cases.
Although infections are receding, it is feared that the checkered figures are only a calm before a harsh winter storm.
The death toll rose 41 per cent last week – but the number of positive cases declined by more than 50 per cent.
But hospital admissions have also increased in the last seven days.
It is hoped the vaccine rollout has stopped some of the spread – but the prime minister yesterday warned that masks, work-from-home and even vaccine passports could return under the government’s winter plan Huh.
He said he would equip the country with a “toolbox” of tough contingency measures that could be brought in in a short period of time to prevent a fresh spike in cases.
He told Downing Street that the plan’s briefing “will give us confidence that we don’t need to go back to the lockdowns of the past”.
The influx of respiratory diseases in winter has forced the government to plan how to keep hospitals from collapsing.
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Speaking in the Commons, Health Secretary Sajid Javid laid out a five-pronged strategy to keep the virus at bay as the NHS enters its seasonal boom.
This includes a vaccine booster blitz, test and trace, pumping £5 billion into the NHS for the next six months, a flu jab campaign and putting in place strong border controls.
The PM said: “The result of this vaccination campaign is that we have one of the freest societies and one of the most open economies in Europe.
“That’s why we stick to our strategy. In short, we’ll keep going.”
He thinks the jab rollout has put the country in a stronger position to weather the colder months – but warned sanctions could still backfire.
Children under the age of six months can also be given the Pfizer vaccine this winter to prevent its spread to children.
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Mr Javid revealed the government’s Plan B, when hospitals are risky and matters spiral out of control.
He told MPs: “We have seen how quickly this virus can adapt and change, so we have devised a Plan B of contingency measures which we can only call in if they have to stop the continued pressure on the NHS. The data is needed and supported.”
These include making face masks legally mandatory in crowded settings, emphasizing the need to take precautions, and ordering people to work from home.
While hated vaccine passports will be put on hold for now – Mr Javid warned he could suddenly be presented with a week’s notice.
Then all nightclubs, any indoor venue with more than 500 people, any outdoor setting with more than 1,000 people would require COVID certification.
Doomster scientists are concerned that the NHS could be affected by an increase of COVID in the cold months, as well as by outbreaks of the common seasonal flu.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Prof Jonathan Van Tam warned today that this winter could be “bumpy”.
Outlining the perfect storm, Mr Javid said: “We must be cautious as autumn and winter are favorable conditions for COVID-19 and other seasonal viruses.
“The kids have returned to school, and people are returning to work.
“The changing climate means more people will probably be spending time indoors, and there is likely to be a lot of non-Covid demand on the NHS, including the flu or norovirus.”
There is also concern that the vaccine’s effectiveness against the delta variant could be waning for older people who were jab at the beginning of the year.
Lockdown-hating Tory lawmakers were furious at the prospect of a return to tough measures in the coming months.
Former minister Sir Desmond Swain erupted with anguish as Mr Javid warned legal face coverings could be re-imposed.
Former cabinet minister Esther McVey raided against “extremely harmful lockdowns and restrictions”.
A Tory rebellion is rising against the PM’s desire to retain his emergency COVID powers – which allows him to plunge the country into lockdown.
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JCVI’s Boffins held a separate press conference this morning giving details of the booster campaign.
Those over 70 and the most vulnerable are expected to be jabbed first, before descending in order of age.
Last night the PM rolled the pitch to warn that we will still live with COVID for the foreseeable future.
He said: “The pandemic is not over, but thanks to our unprecedented vaccine programme, new treatments and testing, we have been able to live with the virus without significant restrictions on our freedoms.
“Today I will lay out a clear plan for autumn and winter, when the virus has a natural advantage, to protect the gains we have made.”