Good afternoon everybody.
I want to set out our plan for managing Covid this autumn and winter.
And 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.
We have more than 80 per cent of all over-16s now double jabbed, double vaccinated.
And we have Covid antibodies in around 90 per cent of the adult population.
And those vaccines are working.
We have seen the extraordinary vaccine-induced falls in deaths and serious disease.
And depending on your age, you’re up to nine times more likely to die, sadly, if you’re unvaccinated, than if you’ve had both jabs.
And the result of this vaccination campaign is that we have one of the most free societies and one of the most open economies in Europe.
And that’s why we are now sticking with our strategy.
In essence, we’re going to keep going.
We will continue to offer testing.
We will continue to urge everyone to be sensible, to be responsible.
Wash your hands.
Consider wearing a face covering in crowded places with people that you don’t know.
Stay at home if you feel unwell.
Download and use the app.
And we’re investing massively in our NHS to meet the pressures of Covid with an additional £5.4 billion in England over the next six months.
And that’s on top of almost £36 billion over the next three years to help our NHS recover and fix the long-standing problems of social care as well, as I was saying last week.
And we are helping to vaccinate the world with 100 million doses for developing countries by next June.
And I think this country should be proud, continue to be very proud, that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine remains the workhorse of global immunisation.
And we will keep further measures in reserve – a Plan B.
We do not see the need now to proceed for instance with mandatory certification.
But we will continue to work with the many businesses that are getting ready for such a scheme.
indeed over 200 events have already used Covid certification voluntarily.
And it is just not sensible to rule out completely this kind of option now when we must face the fact that it might still make the difference between keeping businesses open at full capacity or not.
We will also keep open the option of mandating face coverings as they have elsewhere, or advising people again to work from home, reflecting the fact that when you’ve got a large proportion of the country as we have now with immunity, then smaller changes can make a bigger difference and give us the confidence that we don’t need to go back to the lockdowns of the past.
And of course, we will continue to update our advice to you based on the latest data.
But in the meantime, we are confident in the vaccines that have made such a difference to our lives.
And we are now intensifying that effort, offering jabs to 12 to 15 year olds on the advice of the Chief Medical Officers, who’ve given that advice based on the health, wellbeing and educational prospects of the children themselves.
And for over 50s – and the under 50s who are at risk, or more at risk, we’re now motoring ahead with the booster programme.
A third dose six months after your second dose.
So that’s going to mean we’re going to be building even higher walls of immunisation of vaccine protection in this country.
And the UK government has procured at scale jabs for every part of the UK.
And we will be sending doses to the Devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Covid is still out there.
The disease sadly still remains a risk.
But I’m confident we can keep going with our plan to turn jabs jabs jabs into jobs jobs jobs.
And protect the gains that we have made together.
- September 14, 2021 at 10:07 pm by Editor (displayed above)
- September 14, 2021 at 10:07 pm by Editor