Boris Johnson to hold No10 press conference tomorrow on Covid plan for winter

The Prime Minister is expected to announce a ‘toolbox’ of measures he would keep in reserve if cases surge this winter – though a lockdown is not totally off the table

Boris Johnson looks set to host a Downing Street press conference tomorrow to spell out his Covid ‘toolbox’ for winter.

Downing Street has not yet said what day this week the PM will update the nation.

But minister Therese Coffey today confirmed he will outline his plan on Tuesday – amid chaos as the last details are thrashed out.

It’s though the announcement will include a booster vaccine programme, possible jabs for kids over 12, and measures in reserve on masks, working from home and vaccine passports.

There will also be a major advertising campaign in a bid to do everything possible to avoid a winter lockdown.

But while many powers to shut down venues under the Coronavirus Act will be rescinded, the core power to impose a lockdown will remain in place.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid refused to rule out another lockdown yesterday, instead telling the BBC: “I’m not anticipating any more lockdowns.

“I think it would be irresponsible for any health minister around the world to take everything off the table, but I just don’t see how we get to another lockdown.”

The latest Government figures confirmed a further 56 Covid-related deaths and 29,173 cases were recorded. The total number of double-jabbed people in the UK is 43,991,875.

It comes after plans for mandatory vaccine passports in crowded venues such as nightclubs and concerts by the end of this month were ditched in the Government’s latest U-turn.

Mr Javid confirmed the proposals “will not be going ahead” this month, but could be used later in winter.

The decision follows a fierce backlash to the move among MPs and the hospitality sector.

Days earlier, Tory ministers had been defending the plan, which would have forced people to provide proof they had two Covid jabs to get into venues.

Mr Javid told the BBC: “I’ve never liked the idea of saying to people you must show your papers or something to do what is just an everyday activity, but we were right to properly look at it.

“We’ve looked at it properly and whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports.”

The announcement came shortly after the minister told Sky News a final decision had yet to be made. He said: “We haven’t made a final decision as a Government.”

Labour said the swift ­turnaround showed that “the Government’s approach to Covid passports has been shambolic from the start”.

Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said: “There has never been any clarity from ministers about what vaccine passports were supposed to achieve, how they would work and what was expected from businesses and workers.

“Days ago, the vaccine minister stood before Parliament to confirm the introduction of Covid passports and stress their importance, now they have been scrapped. This is the culmination of a summer of chaos from ministers and they urgently need to get a grip before winter.”

The Health Secretary later denied the rapid change in policy yesterday was a “wobble”, with Labour and Tory ­backbenchers strongly opposing vaccine passports.

He told Times Radio: “It’s not a wobble. We said we were going to look at this and look at it carefully and we set out what those plans were and the sectors that we were looking at.

“But I think everyone agrees if you went ahead with ­something like vaccine ­passports, they are a huge intrusion into people’s lives so you have got to be really, really certain that is what you want
to do.

“We have looked at it and whilst we keep it in reserve, I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead.”

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi came under fire in the Commons on Wednesday over the plan.

Tory MPs accused the Government of picking an “unnecessary fight”.

The struggling hospitality sector welcomed the news.

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said: “We hope that businesses will now be able to plan for the future with some degree of certainty, regain ­confidence from customers and the workforce, and start to rebuild a sector that has consistently been at the sharp end of this pandemic.”

And Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester and co-founder of Parklife Festival, said the “plans were untenable and illogical”.

He added: “There were multiple factors which would have been discriminatory and legally questionable.

“As a sector, we can now move forward, without hesitation or vague regulations.”


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