Covid winter plan 2021: The rules that are expected to change in Sheffield after Boris Johnson's announcement
The Prime Minister is set to announce his plans for dealing with Covid during the autumn and winter months, with a focus expected to be placed on vaccines rather than lockdowns.
Boris Johnson is expected to address the nation tomorrow, Tuesday, September 14, to outline how vaccinations will serve as the country’s main defence against coronavirus during the colder months.
According to a senior Government source quoted by The Daily Telegraph, Mr Johnson looks set to tell the country that they need to “learn to live” with Covid and get used to the “new normal”.
The source said the Prime Minister is “dead set” against the idea of another lockdown and will instead be focusing on the use of vaccines to combat the spread of the virus.
This is what it could mean for residents in Sheffield.
Relying on vaccines
Almost 81 per cent of people aged 16 and over are now fully vaccinated in the UK, according to data up to September 12, while almost 90 per cent of people in this age bracket have received at least one vaccine dose.
In Sheffield, 391,976 people over 16 have received their first dose of the vaccine, which equates to more than 77 per cent, with more than 70 per cent of people in this age bracket now fully vaccinated (356,774 people).
According to health bosses, Sheffield has the highest uptake of the coronavirus vaccine of any of England’s major cities.
Figures published by Sheffield NHS Clinical Commissioning Group show the city top of the country’s eight ‘core’ cities, according to documents presented to the organisation's governors earlier this month.
Ahead of the announcement the UK’s chief medical officers are due to advise the government on whether healthy children aged 12 to 15 should be offered a Covid-19 vaccine, after the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said the benefit would only be marginal.
Mr Johnson is also expected to approve the roll-out of booster jabs, although it is not yet clear who will be eligible to receive a third dose.
Vaccine passports scrapped
While vaccines are to serve as the main defence against Covid-19 over the colder months, the government confirmed that vaccine passports will no longer be introduced – so residents in Sheffield will no longer be legally required to be double-jabbed in order to enter nightclubs and events where they may be large crowds.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Sunday, September 12, that there was a “whole toolbox” of measures in place to help control the spread of the virus, and that vaccine passports would not be one of them.
The announcement marked the latest coronavirus U-turn for the government, with the plans binned just days after ministers had defended the policy to sceptical MPs.
Mr Johnson had previously announced that members of the public would be required to show proof they are fully vaccinated to gain entry into clubs and other large-scale events in England.
However, following a backlash from Tory MPs, the plans have now been shelved.
It follows Downing Street confirming that some elements of the Coronavirus Act would be repealed, including those allowing the closing down of the economy, the imposing of restrictions on events and gatherings, the power to temporarily close or restrict access to schools, and powers to detain infectious people.
The Telegraph also reported that the traffic travel light system would be scrapped, the red list of countries would be reduced, and that PCR tests would not be needed for double vaccinated travellers.
Mr Javid said he wanted to get rid of PCR tests for travel “as soon as I possibly can”.
Asked whether ministers were removing too many measures designed to keep the public safe, Mr Javid said that the government should not be introducing coronavirus measures “just for the sake of it”.
The decision to scrap the plans for vaccine passports means Covid-19 measures in England again deviate from those in Scotland, where a motion on their introduction was passed in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, September 9 and a decision is expected in Wales next week.
As the Government is determined to avoid any more lockdowns and set backs to the economy due to the pandemic, The Telegraph has reported that a return to wearing face coverings indoors may be on the cards.
It said that the Prime Minister is reluctant to reintroduce social distancing rules as many hospitality businesses feel that they negatively impact on trade, but bringing back rules on wearing masks could help counter this problem if infections begin to rise during the winter.
Working from home
The ‘work from home’ mandate could also make a comeback over the coming months if cases surge.
Although guidance was changed in July to allow more people to return to the workplace, the Government has not ruled out the option of reintroducing the ‘work from home’ message if things take a turn for the worst.