Covid Winter Plan: Working From Home And Face Masks Set To Stay

Boris Johnson will explain his plan to tackle rising infection rates as winter approaches on Tuesday.
Boris Johnson is expected to keep advice about face masks in his Covid Winter plan
Boris Johnson is expected to keep advice about face masks in his Covid Winter plan
JUSTIN TALLIS via Getty Images

The prime minister is expected to make face masks mandatory and advise the public to work from home in his new plans to reduce infections this winter.

During his 4pm press conference on Tuesday, Boris Johnson will present the Covid vaccines as the primary defence against the deadly virus, while recommending the public remain cautious without introducing a fourth lockdown.

‘Sensible measures’ will remain

Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey told BBC Breakfast that some Covid rules will need to stay in the upcoming months as infections inevitably soar over winter.

When asked about keeping the work-from-home advice, she said: “Whether that’s with what you just mentioned or making sure statutory sick pay can be paid from day one rather than day four, as tends to happen in more regular times – these are the sensible measures I think that we’re going to keep.”

Discussing masks, she said: “The prime minister will be setting out the Covid winter plan tomorrow.

“I think my approach, and I see that with a lot of employers’ organisations, is about having a situation-specific approach.”

Johnson made mask wearing voluntary in July when he lifted the majority of Covid restrictions in England.

He also lifted the maximum capacity rules for gatherings and the working from home guidance, which means more people returned to the office.

What measures will be dropped?

Johnson is expected to drop a range of emergency Covid powers on Tuesday, which MPs first passed to the prime minister in March 2020.

Vaccine passports for nightclubs and larger venues have been discarded – for September at least – and the travel traffic lights system is expected to be scrapped along with PCR tests for the fully vaccinated.

Health secretary Sajid Javid said on Sunday: “We have looked at [vaccine passports] and whilst we will keep it in reserve I am pleased to say that we will not be going ahead.”

Covid tactics which remain uncertain

A clear plan for booster vaccines for the most vulnerable is yet to be unveiled.

Jabs for 12-15-year-olds were also not recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, but the idea remains under the UK’s chief medical officers’ review.


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