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Nice Britain presents Covid plan for autumn and winter; Booster pictures begin subsequent week

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Sajid Javid, UK Health Secretary, left, and Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister, during a press conference at number 10 Downing Street in London, UK on Tuesday 7 September 2021.

Neil Hall | Bloomberg | Getty Images

LONDON – UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid on Tuesday outlined the government’s autumn-winter plan to cope with the coronavirus crisis and set out a set of guidelines aimed at averting the need for further lockdowns.

His comments come shortly after UK officials gave the go-ahead to offer Covid-19 vaccine boosters to those in need and anyone over the age of 50 six months after their second dose.

The UK’s Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee said it recommended using the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for the booster dose or, alternatively, a half dose of a Moderna shot.

Javid said he had accepted this advice from the JCVI and that the National Health Service in England is expected to start next week. The Wales Minister of Health has accepted JCVI’s advice on booster vaccines.

Health and care policy is distributed across the UK, with different provisions in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Regardless, all children aged 12 to 15 in England are offered a dose of the Pfizer BioNTech Shot. The move, which is following in the footsteps of many other countries, is designed to help reduce interruptions in education.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will continue to comment on the country’s fall-winter Covid plan when he holds a press conference on Downing Street later that afternoon.

Johnson is expected to state that he is firmly against reintroducing lockdown measures. It is also expected to abolish the country’s so-called “traffic light system” for overseas travel and it is expected that countries with higher risk on the “Red List” will be significantly reduced.

Winter could be “bumpy at times”

Professor Neil Ferguson, a senior epidemiologist from Imperial College London, said earlier this week that another nationwide lockdown in the coming months cannot be “completely” ruled out.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Ferguson was asked on Monday whether another lockdown might be necessary after the country’s vaccination campaign. “I hope so,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything that can be ruled out completely, but I hope so.”

“I think with this level of immunity we have among the population, a full lockdown may not be required if we need to further reduce transmission,” Ferguson said.

To date, the UK has recorded nearly 7.3 million Covid cases and 134,587 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

On Monday, the country reported 30,825 new coronavirus cases and 61 deaths within 28 days of testing positive. This compares with 29,173 infections and 56 deaths on Sunday, while over 41,000 cases and 45 deaths were reported around that time last week.

England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, warned Tuesday that the coronavirus crisis could get “sometimes bumpy” in the coming months.

He said other respiratory viruses were “very likely” to return during this period and said the government’s goal was to “keep track”.

In winter, people tend to spend more time indoors with less ventilation and less personal space than in summer.

Respiratory infections like coronaviruses are transmitted through droplets that are released when you cough or sneeze. Health experts say colder and drier conditions in winter greatly affect the transmission of flu-like diseases.

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