Boris Johnson winter Covid plan: What Prime Minister's expected to unveil in England

By Cathy Owen

Details of how coronavirus will be dealt with in England during the winter months are to due to be unveiled on Tuesday.

Boris Johnson has been scheduled to lead a Downing Street news conference - although it is unclear whether he will still do so following the death on Monday of his mother, Charlotte Johnson Wahl.

England's Health Secretary Sajid Javid will begin by setting out the details when he unveils the Government's winter Covid plan in a Commons statement on Tuesday.

Read more: Rates of Covid start to fall suggesting infections in Wales may have peaked

The Prime Minister has said he remains determined to avoid another lockdown, with Downing Street insisting it will only be considered as a "last resort".

Instead, ministers will focus on vaccines as the "first line of defence" supported by testing, public health advice and a new variant surveillance system.

The government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) had devised a series of options to limit the spread of Covid without the use of lockdowns, including bringing back mandatory face coverings and working from home if there was a winter surge in infections, according to the Times.

Officials argue deaths and hospital admissions have remained relatively stable over the past month as evidence suggests the vaccines have been highly effective in preventing serious illness.

Ahead of the announcement, Mr Johnson said: "The pandemic is far from over, but thanks to our phenomenal vaccine programme, new treatments and testing we are able to live with the virus without significant restrictions on our freedoms.

"I will set out a clear plan for the autumn and winter, when the virus has a natural advantage, to protect the gains we have made."

It is thought ministers will retain the options of a return to wearing face masks in public places and restoring work-from-home advice if cases take off again.

However, other measures - such as requiring vaccine passports for people attending nightclubs or other crowded venues - have already been shelved.

The latest review of restrictions is being held in Wales this week with any decisions expected to be made public on Friday. First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed that vaccine passports is one of the issues being considered. Read more here.

It is expected the Government will announce it is repealing a swathe of powers taken through the Coronavirus Act which are no longer considered necessary.

They include measures to close down sectors of the economy, apply restrictions to events and gatherings and powers to detain infectious people.

Some measures will be retained - including sick pay from day one for people who are self-isolating, powers to direct schools to remain open if they close against Government guidance, and helping the NHS attain the emergency resources it needs.

It will remain a legal requirement for people to self-isolate if they test positive for the disease.

The Government is to set out plans for Covid booster jabs.

It is expected all over 50s will be offered a third jab - starting with the over 70s and the most vulnerable.

The shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be administered at least six months after the second dose amid concerns the protection it gives to older people fades over time.

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