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Local News

The big changes in Covid-19 measures that could be announced by the Government ahead of winter strain on NHS

today12/09/2021

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This summer saw Brits step out from the shadows of Covid rules and restrictions with many making way while some others stayed.

Now, months after seeing some scrapped and restrictions loosened, the Government could soon announce new measures.

Boris Johnson is said to be set against introducing any further lockdowns but he is expected to bring in a plan to try and curb the current rise in Coronavirus cases.

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There has been a spike in cases as pupils returned to school in Scotland and hospitals are now feeling the strain as a result.

Vaccinations continue to be seen as the best defence against the virus but other measures are likely to be put in place to avoid a further crisis within the NHS as winter approaches, Hull Live reports.

For more news stories about the coronavirus pandemic click here.

The Prime Minister is said to be “adamant” a nationwide lockdown will not be reimposed thanks to the vaccination programme and he is also expected to reveal the biggest ever flu jab campaign rolled out at the same time.

Among contingency measures that could be deployed to avoid pubs and schools having to shut again are mandatory mask-wearing, offices closing again and a return of some social distancing rules.

Mr Johnson is expected to make an announcement this week but Downing Street is yet to confirm an exact date and time of his address.

Here are some of the measures that could be introduced this autumn.

Vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds

Vaccinations for pupils aged between 12 to 15-year-olds are ‘set to starts in a few weeks’.

A mass programme could begin in schools within a fortnight, possibly on September 22.

The decision follows a report led by Chris Whitty, alongside health ministers from all four nations.

Parental or carer consent will be sought, just as with other school immunisation programmes.

Earlier this week, Mr Johnson said: “Thanks to the efforts of the public, the NHS and our phenomenal vaccination programme, we reached Step 4 in our road map and life has returned to a sense of normality.

“These extraordinary times required necessary but intrusive measures. But I’m determined to get rid of any powers we no longer need because of our vaccine defences.

“I will set out the next phase in our Covid response shortly.”

The Government also expects the independent Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) to recommend details of a jab booster programme next week.

Booster jab

The Government expects the independent Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) to recommend details of a jab booster programme next week.

There are plans in place to begin giving booster jabs to the most vulnerable as early as this month.

However, Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, whose team developed the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, said on Friday that he believes the priority should be to donate vaccines to countries where people are still awaiting a first dose.

Face masks

Ominously, an official spokesman for Mr Johnson told the Guardian this week the nation should be ready for the NHS to face a “difficult time” this winter.

That could mean the return of mandatory face mask wearing should infection rates rise alarmingly although no firm plans are in place.

Since July it has not been mandatory to wear them in crowded indoor public spaces.

Downing Street are said to see the move as preferable to reimposing social distancing rules because it has less of a direct impact on the economy.

Exactly where they will be needed to be worn has not been revealed but probably in any enclosed spaces with a particular emphasis on public transport and supermarkets.

But there is one measure not set to be introduced.

Vaccine passport

Another day and another Government U-turn it would appear.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the Adnrew Marr Show on Sunday a scheme for vaccine passports for entry to nightclubs and large events in England will not be going ahead.

He told the BBC: “We shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it.”

It was thought the plan, which came under criticism from venues and some MPs, would be introduced at the end of this month.

Under the scheme, members of the public would have been required to show proof they have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine in order to gain entry to clubs and other crowded events.

The Night Time Industries Association said the plans could have crippled the industry and seen nightclubs facing discrimination cases.

But Mr Javid said: “I’ve never liked the idea of saying to people you must show your papers or something to do what is just an everyday activity, but we were right to properly look at it.

“We’ve looked at it properly and, while we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports.”

But it appears to be a change in the Government stance from just a week ago.

On the same TV programme last week, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said the end of September was the right time to start the vaccine passport scheme for sites with large crowds because all over-18s would have been offered two jabs by then and it was the “best way” to keep the night industry open.

Expensive PCR tests ‘to be scrapped’

Holidaymakers returning to the UK may no longer need to splash out on expensive PCR Covid tests if they have had two jabs under new government rules., it is reported.

The aim is to bring in the change ahead of the next half-term break for people coming from green and amber-listed countries and there will be cheaper lateral flow tests instead of the PCR requirement, the Mail on Sunday reports.

Part of the plans will also mean that travellers will also no longer need to have a Covid test when they leave the UK.

It comes following plenty of criticism that PCR providers have been taking advantage by pushing up the costs of the tests to make it very expensive to travel.

Currently a typical family of four face costs of sometimes more than £600 for the PCR tests and the Competition and Markets Authority has reportedly received many complaints over “dodgy pricing practices”.

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Written by: Rother Radio News


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today12/09/2021