NEWS
13/09/2021 10:54 BST | Updated 13/09/2021 11:37 BST

Covid Winter Plan: 5 Key Bits Of News You Missed

Vaccine passports, jabs for children and winter lockdowns all made headlines over the weekend.

SolStock via Getty Images
A new government strategy to tackle Covid in the colder months is expected this week

Covid infection rates are already starting to rise as the UK temperature drops, so how does the government plan to protect the public?

1. Vaccine passports cancelled 

Health secretary Sajid Javid has promised that vaccine passport plans for access to nightclubs and large venues have been ditched in England when speaking to the BBC on Sunday.

The public were going to have to show proof of double vaccination, a negative Covid or a completed period of self-isolation in order to gain entry, but Javid dismissed this idea.

He said: “We shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it.”

The plans were supposed to be introduced at the end of September, but there was widespread backlash from the nighttime industries.

No.10 has explained that the scheme has not been dropped altogether, though. Vaccine passports will be kept “in reserve” for the later months of the year when England could see a spike in infections.

2. No plans for a winter lockdown – yet

The prime minister is reportedly “dead against” introducing a fourth lockdown over the winter.

However, pensions secretary Therese Coffey caused confusion when she told Sky News it’s “fair” to say they’re still on the table non Monday.

It’s thought the government will instead prioritise other tactics to tackle the virus, including booster jabs for the vulnerable in September.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden told ITV News said these measures are to “make sure that we protect the public against coronavirus, which hasn’t gone away, but at the same time keep as much as we possibly can of our national life going”.

He added: “We have absolutely no intention to introduce further lockdowns or restrictions but, as your viewers will know, the course of this whole coronavirus means we can’t rule out anything.”

3. Profession Neil Ferguson’s advice on vaccines for children

Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) member Professor Neil Ferguson said the UK’s “initial priority” should be vaccinating those aged between 12 and 15 years old, especially as other European nations are starting to overtake Britain in its vaccine rollout.

Malta, Portugal, Denmark, Spain, Belgium and Ireland all have higher rates for the number of doses handed out per 100,000 people now when compared to Britain.

He told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme: “There are a set of countries in Europe with considerably more population immunity than us and I think if we want to stop the risk of the large autumn and winter wave we need to boost immunity in the population.”

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised the government not to vaccinate this age bracket at the moment, but the idea is still under review by the country’s chief medical officers.

TOBY MELVILLE via Getty Images
Boris Johnson will be holding a press conference on Tuesday at 4pm

4. Boris Johnson’s upcoming press conference

The prime minister is expected to relinquish a series of powers he acquired since March 2020 during a 4pm press conference on Tuesday.

It will be his first press briefing on the pandemic since he lifted almost all restrictions in July. 

Johnson is set to scrap some of the emergency lockdown laws when revealing his Covid Winter plan, and dropping the powers allowing police to detain infectious people and close businesses.

Schools and colleges will not be shut in the coming months either.

The prime minister is expected to put his faith in vaccines in the fight against Covid.

Last week, he said: “These extraordinary times required necessary but intrusive measures. But I’m determined to get rid of any powers we no longer need.”

A senior government source told The Telegraph: “The vaccines are a wall of defence. The autumn and the winter do offer some uncertainty, but the prime minister is dead set against another lockdown.”

5. The PM is expected to back mandatory face masks and working from home

Johnson is likely to make the use of face masks obligatory, and recommend the public to work from home where possible, in his speech on Tuesday.

Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey told BBC Breakfast on Monday that the UK will need to keep some rules to tackle the winter.

When asked about keeping the work from home advice, Coffey indicated that could be an option. She also suggested “making sure statutory sick pay can be paid from day one rather than day four, as tends to happen in more regular times” could be an option.

She concluded: “These are the sensible measures I think that we’re going to keep.”

However the prime minister is likely to scrap the travel traffic lights system and PCR tests for fully vaccinated travellers.