Coronavirus: PM set to unveil Covid Winter Plan for England

Boris Johnson will announce his Covid Winter Plan for England on Tuesday, including contingency measures that would be implemented if the NHS was at risk of becoming overwhelmed.

The PM will outline plans for booster jabs after the UK’s vaccine advisory body unveils its guidance on Monday.

Officials are looking at measures that could be needed if cases rose steeply.

But government sources have said further lockdowns were not being considered.

Mr Johnson’s Covid plan is set to follow an announcement by the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) on who should receive booster jabs.

The JCVI has already said a third vaccine dose should be offered to people with severely weakened immune systems, which accounts for up to half a million people in the UK.

But it has not decided if booster doses would be needed to extend protection in larger numbers of people at high risk from Covid-19, including those normally eligible for a flu jab.

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A government source stressed the Covid Winter Plan would emphasise how society planned to continue “living with” the virus throughout the winter and promote Covid and flu jabs.

The Times reports that mandatory face coverings and working from home will be brought back in if there is a winter surge in infections.

There is growing concern among ministers that the NHS could come under severe strain if Covid infections surged alongside a bad flu season, the paper says.

Sources have told the Times the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has devised a series of options to limit the spread of Covid-19 without the use of lockdowns.

It adds possible measures that could be reintroduced include the wearing of face coverings in public, and guidance to work from home where possible.

The legal requirement to wear a face covering ended on 19 July, but people have been advised to continue to wear them in crowded indoor spaces.

The UK reported a further 37,622 new infections on Friday, alongside another 147 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test.

Meanwhile, the Coronavirus Act – emergency legislation introduced to give the government new powers to tackle coronavirus – is also coming up to its six-month review by MPs.

According to BBC Political Correspondent Ione Wells, a government source has said ministers planned to repeal the “vast majority” of the regulations but certain measures would be kept – such as the requirement to self-isolate on receiving a positive PCR test and the power to keep schools open, including in periods they would not usually be.

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