What is the Government's "Winter Plan" for COVID-19?

As more COVID restrictions are relaxed across the UK, the Government is set to reveal its plan of action for the winter on Tuesday. But what could it mean for the future of our lives?

By jimmy johnson
Monday, 13th September 2021, 12:14 pm

It is expected that mandatory face coverings in public areas could be brought back if the NHS comes under stress through the winter, as well as the incentive to work from home if possible.

However, it is unlikely that the UK will be placed under lockdown again any time soon, government sources have reportedly stated.

Additionally, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s initial announcement, we will learn from the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) on whether the most vulnerable individuals in our society will be able to receive a booster jab in the coming months.

Work starts on new Chesterfield Royal hospital development.

Approximately half a million people in the UK could receive a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if necessary. This is to try and alleviate pressure on the NHS, especially with the other challenges it faces through winter (such as individuals suffering from seasonal flu and Seasonal Affective Disorder). This separate from the rollout of booster jabs, as some people do not get the required protection from two doses of the vaccine.

Business and Education restrictions unlikely to return

Johnson is set to repeal some of the powers given to the government by the Coronavirus Act, including the power to detain people who are (or suspected to be) carrying a variant of COVID-19.

Restrictions on education and business sectors will most likely not be returning, as the government is doing everything it can to avoid another hard lockdown akin to the one we saw in early 2021.

The government will now be unable to place restrictions on public events, parties and gatherings. Adding to this, they also have repealed the ability to shut schools, colleges other childcare facilities. However, they can force schools to stay open if they close on their own accord. A full list of all powers repealed by the government can be found on its website.

Moreover, if you test positive for COVID-19, you will still be required to self-isolate, regardless of your vaccinated status.

Infections and deaths steadily rising

The government’s winter plan comes in response to a slowly rising death count in patients who received a positive COVID test 28 days prior.

Despite an increasing number of both infections and deaths, the government is adamant in its decision to avoid another lockdown. Instead, vaccines will be the main line of defence in parliament’s strategy of combating COVID-19.

In the UK, approximately 90% of people over the age of 16 have had their first dose, while 80% of people above this age are double jabbed. Furthermore, research has revealed that a double dose of the Pfizer vaccine is 96% effective, while two Astrazenica jabs are 92% effective (according to GOV.UK).

Johnson wishes to usher a sense of normalcy back into the country, following a frightening and uncertain period. In doing so, he seems to be adopting a “hands-off” approach, which may be vindicated in time.