British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out on Tuesday his plans to manage the COVID-19 pandemic in the winter months, announcing a decision to scrap the introduction of vaccine passports and steps to end some emergency powers.
Johnson is under criticism from his Conservative Party for increasing taxes in order to address a social and health crisis. He appears to be trying to calm those critics by scrapping plans to create passports, despite the growing number of cases.
Sajid Javid, the Health Minister, stated that he didn’t anticipate any more lockdowns, and that vaccine passports wouldn’t be introduced to England because the government relies on testing and vaccines to protect the public.
Javid said to Sky News, “Now that it’s autumn and winter… The prime minister will this week be setting out our plans for managing COVID in the next few months. In that process we will make sure that our vaccine program is working.”
According to him, he did not anticipate any lockdowns but would not remove the idea from the table. He also stated that the government wouldn’t approve vaccine passports for mass events. And that he would like to get rid of PCR testing for travelers as quickly as possible.
“Lots of viruses around”
Javid said that the government will remain cautious, but the vaccine program, our monitoring programme, and our surveillance programme would be our defense. “While there are many viruses around, this wall of defense is still working.
Night-time industries welcomed the U.S. withdrawal from vaccine passports. Michael Kill (chief executive of Night Time Industries Association) stated that he hopes businesses will be able “start rebuilding a sector which has always been at the forefront of this pandemic.”
Also, the government stated that it expects Britain’s Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation to confirm details about a booster program to start this month.
Britain has the highest COVID-19 death rate in the world. The number of cases has risen in recent months since July’s relaxations, when government made the first investment in vaccines for public health.
With the introduction of Coronavirus Act in March 2020, the government received broad emergency powers. This included the ability to shutdown businesses and to seize infectious persons.
These extraordinary times called for intrusive, but necessary measures. Johnson stated that he was determined to eliminate any power we don’t need due to our vaccine defenses.
Although the opposition Labour Party stated that it agrees it is a reasonable approach to remove some statute-related measures, it warned the government against winter punishing the National Health Service (NHS).
Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s chief health policy officer, stated that “We know winter will be hard, and the NHS fearing the worst winter ever living memory”, adding that “We know we’re going going to have more influenza, respiratory problems,” Times Radio’s Jonathan Ashworth said.
We need to get our NHS ready for winter.
Reporting by Elizabeth Piper, Editing by Alex Richardson
Elizabeth Piper, Reuters author. This article has been legally licensed by the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]
Photo credit: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce on September 14th, 2021 that no vaccine passports are required. Toby Melville / Reuters
Publiated at Sun, 12 Sept 2021 15:56.19 (+0000).