The government has laid out its winter COVID plans, including a plan “B” to bring back face masks, as 396 cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Greater Lincolnshire on Tuesday.
The plans were announced first in the House of Commons by health secretary Sajid Javid and later at a press conference by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Under initial proposals, the main defences will see the unvaccinated encouraged to get the jab, as well as opening up the vaccine to 12-15-year-olds.
COVID booster jabs will begin to be offered across the UK from next week and will be aimed at the over-50s, younger adults with health conditions and frontline health and care workers.
Those hoping to receive a booster must have had six months since their second dose.
The government’s plans also include testing, tracing of cases and self-isolation for those who catch the virus.
Businesses will be asked to consider using the NHS COVID Pass to check the vaccination status of customers, while it is also “highly likely” frontline NHS and social care staff will need to have COVID-19 and flu vaccinations in order to be deployed.
However, Mr Javid acknowledge there was a “Plan B”.
“Any responsible government must prepare for all eventualities, and although these measures are not an outcome anyone wants, it’s one we need to be ready for just in case,” he said.
He added that it would be brought in “only if they are needed and supported by the data to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS”.
Under the emergency measures, the government would consider legally mandating face coverings in certain settings and introducing vaccine passports for nightclubs, crowded indoor venues with more than 500 attendees, crowded outdoor events with more than 4,000 people and any other settings with more than 10,000 people.
At the evening press conference, Mr Johnson said around 80% of over-16s were now double vaccinated and COVID antibodies are in 90% of adults.
However, he said nearly five million more people should still be encouraged to get the vaccine.
“COVID is still out there. The disease still remains a risk,” he said, but added he was “confident we can protect the gains we’ve made together”.
Government figures on Tuesday showed 270 new cases in Lincolnshire, 45 in North East Lincolnshire and 81 in North Lincolnshire.
Five further deaths of Greater Lincolnshire residents were confirmed in the government figures, with one in Lincolnshire and one each in North and North East Lincolnshire
NHS data also showed three further deaths on Tuesday, with all taking place at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Trust.
Nationally, cases increased by 26,628 to 7,282,810 while deaths rose by 185 to 134,446.
Coronavirus data for Greater Lincolnshire on Tuesday, September 14
105,404 cases (up 396)
- 69,230 in Lincolnshire (up 396)
- 16,436 in North Lincolnshire (up 81)
- 19,738 in North East Lincolnshire (up 45)
2,307 deaths (up five)
- 1,687 from Lincolnshire (up one)
- 316 from North Lincolnshire (up two)
- 304 from North East Lincolnshire (up two)
of which 1,384 hospital deaths (up three)
- 849 at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (no change)
- 44 at Lincolnshire Community Health Service hospitals (no change)
- 1 at Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust (no change)
- 490 in Northern Lincolnshire (NLAG) (up three)
7,282,810 UK cases, 134,446 deaths