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Government announces winter COVID plan

Source: HM Government | | 23/09/2021

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has set out the government’s autumn and winter plan for managing Covid. 

The government is aiming to sustain the progress made and prepare the country for future challenges, while ensuring the National Health Service (NHS) does not come under unsustainable pressure.

The government plans to achieve this by:

  • Building our defences through pharmaceutical interventions: vaccines, antivirals and disease modifying therapeutics.
  • Identifying and isolating positive cases to limit transmission: Test, Trace and Isolate.
  • Supporting the NHS and social care: managing pressures and recovering services.
  • Advising people on how to protect themselves and others: clear guidance and communications.
  • Pursuing an international approach: helping to vaccinate the world and managing risks at the border.

This is known as Plan A. There are of course a number of variables that could change the expected outlook including the outbreak of new variants and other seasonal respiratory diseases such as the flu.

If the data suggests the NHS is likely to come under unsustainable pressure, the government has prepared a Plan B for England. It is hoped that this plan will not be required but the plan contains certain measures which can help control transmission of the virus while seeking to minimise economic and social impacts. 

This includes:

  • Communicating clearly and urgently to the public that the level of risk has increased, and with it the need to behave more cautiously.
  • Introducing mandatory vaccine-only COVID-status certification in certain settings.
  • Legally mandating face coverings in certain settings.
 

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