Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs contingency measures to cope with a COVID-19 surge in winter could include mandatory use of face coverings and the introduction of Covid passes, among a slew of other advice given today in the House of Commons. The plan comes after rising cases across the UK in the run-up to the winter months.
Mr Javid told MPs: “The plan shows how we’ll give this nation the best possible chance of living with Covid without the need for stringent social and economic restrictions.”
Of the five pillars to the plan, he said the first was further strengthening pharmaceutical defences, like vaccines.
He said: “The latest statistics from the ONS show that almost 99% of Covid-19 deaths in the first half of this year were people who had not received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. This shows the importance of our vaccination programme.”
He also outlined that working from home measures could return, as well as new measures.
These include consultation on protecting vulnerable patients by making Covid-19 and flu vaccinations a condition of deployment for frontline healthcare staff and wider social care workers in England.
BREAKING NEWS – MORE TO FOLLOW
Mr Javid says the government will “renew our efforts to maximise uptake” of the coronavirus vaccine.
Booster doses will be availabe for all over 50s and all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions.
He tells MPs that booster doses “are an important way” of keeping the virus away in the long term and says he has accepted the JCVI’s advice to roll out booster jabs to those aged 50, those in care homes and frontline and health and social care workers.
Mr Javid says the booster programme will begin next week.