UK PM to present COVID-19 winter plan By Reuters


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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at a press conference in Downing Street, London, Britain September 7, 2021. REUTERS / Toby Melville / File Photo

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By Elizabeth Piper

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will outline his plans for handling the COVID-19 pandemic during the winter months on Tuesday, announcing a decision to drop the introduction of vaccine passports and measures to end some emergency powers.

Johnson, under fire from some members of his ruling Conservative Party for raising taxes to solve a health and social crisis, appears ready to try to assuage such criticism by dropping plans to introduce passports despite growing numbers of coronavirus cases.

Speaking to broadcasters, Health Minister Sajid Javid said he did not anticipate more lockdowns and vaccine passports would not be introduced in England, as the government instead relies on vaccines and testing for defend the public.

“Now that we move into fall and winter … the Prime Minister will present this week our plans to deal with COVID over the next few months and in this we will make it clear that our vaccination program is working,” Javid told Sky News.

He told the BBC he “doesn’t anticipate any more blockages” but will not take the measure off the table, that the government will not go ahead with vaccine passports to allow people to ‘attending mass events and wanted to “get rid” of PCR. testing for travelers as soon as possible.

‘A LOT OF VIRUSES AROUND’

Javid added that the government would remain “cautious”, but “the vaccination program, our testing program, our surveillance program, the new treatments… it’s our whole wall of defense and although there are a lot of viruses around, it works “.

The nightlife industry hailed the turnaround in vaccine passports, with Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) trading body, saying he hoped companies would be able to “start rebuilding a business. sector which has always been at the forefront of this pandemic “.

The government has also said it expects the UK Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) to confirm details of a vaccination booster program due to start this month.

Britain, which has one of the highest official COVID-19 death rates in the world, has seen the number of cases soar in recent months after easing restrictions in July, when the government bet for the first time on vaccines to protect the public.

The government was given broad emergency powers in March 2020 with the introduction of the coronavirus law, which included measures to shut down businesses, shut down sectors of the economy and the right to detain people infectious.

“These extraordinary times have required necessary but intrusive measures. But I am determined to rid ourselves of all the powers that we no longer need due to our vaccine defenses,” Johnson said in a statement.

The opposition Labor Party said it considered it a “reasonable” approach to remove some measures from the legislation, but warned the government that winter could punish the National Health Service ( NHS).

“We know the winter is going to be tough, the NHS fears the worst winter in living memory, we know we’re going to have more flu, more breathing problems,” the health policy chief told Times Radio of Labor, Jonathan Ashworth.

“So we have to prepare our NHS for the winter.”

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