Sajid Javid says vaccine passports ‘will not be going ahead’
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The Prime Minister will give details on how the Government will respond to the pandemic in the Commons and at a press conference. He is expected to rule out plans for vaccine passports and push back at suggestions of another lockdown but warn a number of precautionary measures could be re-introduced if necessary.
Face masks and compulsory social distancing in some indoor settings could be imposed on Britons once again if there is a fear the NHS could become overwhelmed by the growth of the virus.
Working from home could also once again be advised by ministers if hospitalisations surge.
Plans to ditch vaccine passports were confirmed by Health Secretary Said Javid yesterday.
Mr Johnson had previously announced that members of the public would be required to show proof they have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to gain entry to clubs and other large-scale events in England.
But Mr Javid admitted the proposals “will not be going ahead” but that vaccine passports would be kept in “reserve” in case they are needed at some point in future.
It comes after Tory MPs reacted with anger at the plans, with some even threatening to boycott the Conservative Party conference in protest.
In another change in rules, the much-hated coronavirus travel traffic light system is set to be scrapped.
While a list of red list countries will remain, the green and amber lists will be merged.
The requirement of a PCR test for those returning to the UK will also be dropped for those who are double vaccinated.
On Sunday, Mr Javid said he wanted to get rid of PCR tests for travel “as soon as I possibly can”.
“I’ve already asked the officials that the moment we can, let’s get rid of these kinds of intrusions,” he told Sky News.
“The cost that generates for families, particularly families just trying to go out and holiday, we shouldn’t be keeping anything like that in place for a second longer than is absolutely necessary.”
Outlining his winter Covid plan, Mr Johnson will also confirm some elements of the Coronavirus Act would be repealed.
These include measures allowing the closing down of the economy, the imposing of restrictions on events and gatherings, the power to temporarily close or restrict access to schools, and powers to detain infectious people.
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Instead, Mr Johnson’s plan is expected to focus on vaccinations.
He will launch a booster vaccine campaign for the over-50s and those most vulnerable, in order to help top up their protection against the Delta variant.
Advice on booster jabs from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is due to be published at the same time.
Following a similar pattern to the start of the year, over-80s and those working in health and social care will be offered an extra injection first, before being rolled out down the age groups.
The UK’s chief medical officers are also drawing up advice to the Government on whether children aged 12 to 15 should be vaccinated after the JCVI said the margin of benefit from vaccinating healthy children was too small to say they should receive a jab.
If given the green light by England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty, Mr Johnson will announce rollout will take place within a week.
Scientists have warned coronavirus cases are likely to continue to rise in the coming weeks, leading to concerns the NHS could once again be at risk of being overwhelmed.
There are currently 9,098 patients in hospital with COVID-19, with 1,073 new admissions yesterday.
Figures from the latest 24 hour period indicate there were 29,173 new cases confirmed by a positive test.
A further 56 deaths were recorded, with 971 registered in the past seven days.
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