Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to present a winter coronavirus strategy for England on Tuesday designed to prevent any further spikes in cases from overwhelming the National Health Service, while trying to avoid another lockdown.
The government is expected to give more details on its plans to roll out booster shots for those whose immunity to vaccination may be waning and say what measures could be used to respond to a potential spike in cases.
UK authorities are seeking to avoid the kind of lockdowns that for months have kept people from seeing family and friends, even in most outdoor environments, while preventing another catastrophic winter wave like the one that hit the country last year.
The government’s plans could include reintroducing the requirement to wear face coverings in indoor spaces or on public transport, or advising people to work from home when possible.
On Sunday, the government said it would not proceed with a passport vaccination scheme that would have forced nightclubs and certain other places in England to check the status of those attempting to enter. But he kept open the possibility of relaunching the strategy if the situation deteriorated.
The government is also examining whether a vaccine booster could be “co-administered” with influenza vaccines for the elderly, Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC. He virtually ruled out another round of tough restrictions, saying that while not ruled out, “I just don’t see how we come to another lockdown. “
Experts believe Mr Johnson is unlikely to rule out yet another lockdown entirely, presenting it as a last resort that would only be considered if England faced a new, highly transmissible variant. Over the past year, Mr Johnson has often faced pressure from a vocal group of lawmakers in his Conservative party’s libertarian wing who campaigned for the removal of the coronavirus rules.
In July, Mr Johnson gave them largely what they wanted, easing most legal restrictions on coronaviruses on what the tabloids have called ‘freedom day’.
Britain now has an average of around 30,000 new coronavirus cases and around 1,000 hospitalizations every day, according to government data. And although this is significantly less than the 100,000 cases predicted by some experts, government officials know another rise is possible as children return to school and the weather worsens during fall and winter. .
British health authorities approved a mass coronavirus vaccination program for children aged 12 to 15 on Monday, despite reservations from some medical experts who questioned whether young people would benefit significantly from the vaccines.
The move, announced by the chief medical officers of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, follows weeks of uncertainty over whether children in this age group would be allowed to receive the injections.
Russian President Vladimir V. Putin is isolating himself because of coronavirus cases around him, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.
Mr Putin canceled a planned trip to Tajikistan this week for a summit with leaders from Central Asia and former Soviet countries, the Kremlin said, describing a phone call Mr Putin had with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon .
“Vladimir Putin said that in connection with the identified cases of coronavirus in his environment, he must observe self-isolation for a period of time,” the statement said.
Mr Putin said earlier this year that he was vaccinated with the two-dose regimen of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. But he continued to be extremely cautious in his public appearances, often forcing people he meets to walk away. quarantine first.
Mr Putin signaled on Monday that he may have to self-isolate due to possible exposure to the coronavirus, although some Russian news outlets have interpreted his comments as a joke.
“Even around me there are issues with this Covid thing,” he said in an informal conversation with Paralympic athletes at an event in the Kremlin which was broadcast by media from State. “I think maybe I should be quarantined soon, myself. “
President Biden will use the upcoming United Nations General Assembly meeting to set new goals for a global coronavirus vaccination campaign, including the full vaccination of 70% of the world’s population within a year, according to plans by documents prepared by the White House.
Mr Biden is calling a virtual global summit on Covid-19 next week, when heads of state meet for the annual General Assembly meeting. Invitations to world leaders were sent out last week, according to a person familiar with the planning. Another round of stakeholder invitations was emailed Monday.
The invitation, obtained by The New York Times, told attendees that Mr. Biden “would call on heads of state, heads of government and international organizations, business leaders, philanthropists and non-governmental organizations to come together for s ” commit to ending the Covid-19 pandemic. . “It was accompanied by a project specifying the specific objectives necessary to achieve this objective.
The 70 percent target “is ambitious but consistent with existing targets,” says the draft document. In June, leaders of the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization set the goal of vaccinating 60% of the world’s population by the middle of 2022.
The project also calls on countries “with the relevant capacities” to purchase or donate one billion additional doses of coronavirus vaccines, beyond the two billion that have already been pledged by rich countries; and for world leaders to ensure that $ 3 billion is made available in 2021 and $ 7 billion in 2022 to fund “vaccine preparation and administration, reluctance control and procurement of supplies. auxiliaries ”.
Mr Biden has come under heavy criticism from lawyers and public health experts who say he is breaking his promise to make the United States “the vaccine arsenal” for the world . The expansion of global immunization efforts is necessary to protect not only the world, but also national security and the health and safety of Americans.
Pressure is mounting as the United Nations meeting approaches. On Tuesday, two House Democrats – Representatives Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut – plan to hold a press conference to call on Mr. Biden to unveil a global plan to end the pandemic, including a plan to transfer vaccine technology from the pharmaceutical industry. vaccine manufacturers to other vaccine manufacturers around the world and to increase manufacturing capacity.
Peter Maybarduk, who heads the Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program, said the project looks promising but does not go far enough. His group has a plan calling on the government to invest $ 25 billion in developing regional manufacturing centers around the world, which he said would produce enough vaccine for low- and middle-income countries in a year.
“It doesn’t ask much of the private sector,” Maybarduk said. “He’s trying to unify the commitments rather than using the very important power of the US government to displace a very large manufacturing capacity on its own. This still leaves tools unused. It is not the arsenal of vaccines for the world.