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Boris Johnson announces UK’s winter Covid plan to ‘save Christmas from lockdown’

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Boris Johnson has announced plans to avoid a Christmas lockdown by centring on booster jabs for over-50s – but refused to rule out Covid passports or a return to working from home.

In today's press conference, the Prime Minister revealed third doses are to be rolled out in a similar vein to the first vaccine drive – starting with the most elderly and vulnerable.

They will then be offered to younger and younger age groups.

Speaking from Downing Street, Johnson said: "The British people, all of us, are incomparably better placed to fight the disease. We have 80% of all over 16s double jabbed and we have Covid antibodies in 90% of the adult population."

The PM went on to claim that the UK had one of the most unrestricted societies and most open economies across Europe in the wake of the pandemic, but refused to rule out the introduction of Covid passports for social venues this winter, whilst hinting at other measures that may well be introduced.

"We must face the fact that it might still make the difference between keeping businesses open at full capacity or not," Johnson said of a potential Covid passport scheme.

"We will also keep options open on mandating face masks, as they have done elsewhere, and also working from home."

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Boris also warned that higher levels of coronavirus cases mean that “in one way our position today is actually more challenging” than last September.

The Prime Minister told the Downing Street press conference: “I want you to cast your mind back exactly a year and think where we were last September as schools went back and the colder months approached.

“Because in one way our position today is actually more challenging – we have higher levels of daily cases, thousands more, but in many other crucial respects the British people, all of us collectively and individually, are incomparably better-placed to fight the disease.”

Reports claim that if the plan fails and the NHS is overrun, vaccine passports, more indoor masks and interventions such as working from home will have to return.

However, Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the Radio Times on Saturday he is "not anticipating any more lockdowns."

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Mr Johnson's Covid followed an announcement by the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) on who should receive booster jabs.

According to the JCVI, booster jabs would "ensure the protection that has been built up in the population does not decline in the winter months" as "NHS pressures are most acute."

The government is hoping to prevent the resurgence of Covid restrictions this winter with top-up jabs and a massive flu shot blitz aided by a giant ad campaign urging people to get double protection.

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  • Boris Johnson
  • Coronavirus
  • Lockdown
  • Covid vaccine

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