Britain’s Johnson hopes to avoid lockdown in winter virus roadmap

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce how his government plans to control the coronavirus during the fall and winter

At a news conference on Tuesday, Johnson is expected to say that the mask-wearing, work-from-home advice and social distancing rules that were removed in July could return if cases rise.

But his conservative government is opposed to the tough measures, unexpectedly shelving plans to introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs and other crowded venues.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Sunday that the passes, which have been introduced in several European countries and were due to begin in England at the end of September, were a “huge intrusion into people’s lives”. He said the government would keep the plan “safe” but would not go ahead with it for now.

Some experts have argued for vaccine passports as a way to encourage youth to get vaccinated, although others say that instead of encouraging vaccination, it may increase hesitation. The measure was opposed by many in the nightlife industry, and faced political resistance on civil liberties grounds from some Conservative MPs and the opposition Liberal Democrats.

The decision of the government applies in England. Scotland, which sets its own health policy, plans to introduce vaccine passports for crowded places next month.

The UK is currently vaccinating people 16 years of age and older, and around 90% have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The government is also scheduled to announce this week whether youth between the ages of 12 and 15 will be given vaccinations.

So far only children in that age group, who have underlying health conditions, or live with vulnerable adults, have been offered the shots. The government’s Vaccine Advisory Committee said last week that the purely medical benefits of vaccination for children were modest, but there may be other social or public health reasons for vaccination.

Johnson is also likely to announce on Tuesday that the government will relinquish some emergency powers granted by parliament since the pandemic began last year, including closing businesses and schools, restricting gatherings and detaining infectious people. right to be included.

The announcement of a new virus road map comes a year after Johnson opposed scientific advice to put the country in lockdown – only to make a U-turn within weeks as coronavirus cases soared.

Cases of the virus are now 10 times higher than the rate a year ago, but vaccines are protecting many Britons from serious illness. Still, the UK is recording more than 100 coronavirus deaths a day, and around 8,000 people are hospitalized with COVID-19. That’s less than a quarter of the winter peak, but numbers are rising. ————

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