Thanks to the success of the UK’s vaccination programme, data has shown that the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths has weakened significantly.
As part of the Covid-19 winter plan, the government has introduced a ‘Plan A’ and ‘Plan B’ in order to sustain the progress made and prepare the country for future challenges.
Plan A includes:
- Building defences through vaccines, antivirals and disease modifying therapeutics.
- Identifying and isolating positive cases through Test and Trace to reduce transmission.
- Supporting the NHS and social care.
- Advising the public on protection measures with guidance and communications.
- An international approach to managing risks and distributing vaccinations.
- Booster doses will be offered to individuals who received vaccination in Phase 1 of the vaccination programme.
- First doses will be offered to 12-15 year olds.
- Efforts will be made to maximise uptake in those eligible but who have not yet taken up the offer.
Test and Trace
- It will continue to be expected that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms should self-isolate and take a PCR test. The legal requirement for 10-day self-isolation after a positive PCR result will remain in place.
- PCR testing will continue to be available free of charge for those with symptoms.
- Contact tracing will continue throughout autumn and winter.
The government will continue to offer practical and financial support to those who are eligible and require assistance to self-isolate. This will be reviewed by the end of March 2022.
NHS and social care
- The government has made £63 billion available to health and care services to respond to the challenges they have faced. There will be an addition £5.4 billion allocated to support the NHS over the next 6 months.
- This includes £1 billion to tackle backlogs in procedures caused by Covid-19 and the delivery of routine surgery and treatments for patients.
To reduce pressure on the NHS, government recommends that as many people as possible receive a flu vaccination this autumn and winter. A free flu vaccination will still be available for all previously eligible groups:
- Primary school children
- 65 year olds and over
- Vulnerable groups
- Pregnant women
Should the NHS come under unsustainable pressure, government may introduce Plan B to help control transmission and reduce economic and social impacts. This includes:
- Communicating to the public the need to act more cautiously
- Introducing mandatory vaccine-only certification in certain settings
- Legally mandating face coverings
- Consider asking people to work from home again where possible.