Thursday, 16 September 2021

Our autumn and winter Covid plan

This week the Prime Minister set out his Covid winter plan to protect the gains from the historic vaccination programme which has allowed us to return to a sense of normality.

Data shows that, thanks to the vaccine rollout, the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths has weakened, while the number of hospital admissions in England has remained relatively stable. However, the winter months ahead will undoubtedly bring renewed challenges, and so the Prime Minister has announced the autumn and winter plan to manage Covid.

Measures announced in the winter plan to manage Covid levels and protect the NHS include:

  • Booster jabs to priority groups 1-9 to boost immunity among the most vulnerable groups
  • Continuing to make use of the Test, Trace and Isolate programme 
  • Symptomatic PCR testing throughout autumn and winter to identify and isolate positive cases and limit transmission
  • Lateral flow tests will remain free of charge this winter
  • Continued legal obligation to self-isolate for those who test positive and their unvaccinated contacts
  • An extra £5.4 billion of extra funding for the next six months to support the NHS this winter
  • Continued guidance offered to the public on how to protect themselves and others, including ensuring ventilation, wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed places, getting tested and self-isolating if required
A range of 'Plan B' measures will also be kept under review to help control transmission of the virus. This would include:
  • Mandatory vaccine status certification in certain settings
  • Legally mandating face coverings in certain settings, eg. public transport and shops
  • Asking people to work from home
These measures will only be implemented if necessary, such as if the NHS is at risk of becoming overwhelmed.

Covid is still out there and remains a risk to us all. However, together we can take actions to protect ourselves, each other and the NHS, and avoid plan B to protect our freedoms in the winter months.