COVID-19: Van-Tam says it could be a few 'bumpy' months ahead
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Dubbed the “Covid exit strategy”, Operation Rampdown is said to include plans to wind down on COVID-19 testing and isolation rules for April. It was reportedly prepared by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and could give Westminster the chance to do away with the Covid test and trace system, according to the Guardian. It adds that the requirement for people to self-isolate for 10 days if they test positive for COVID-19 could also be scrapped.
This could mean that the Government would no longer give people on low wages £500 to isolate when they contract the virus.
But Number 10 sources have reportedly denied involvement with the document and rejected its contents.
One source has said: “No ministers have asked for this or seen it.
“It’s far too early to be talking about any of this stuff when don’t know where we will be in terms of case numbers or state of the pandemic.
“You can’t plan so far ahead with this disease. It’s very premature to be talking about that at this stage particularly ahead of winter.”
The Mail on Sunday reported that the document was prepared as part of a six-week review of the government’s test-and-trace operations carried out by UKHSA officials.
The document reportedly said: “We will no longer be prioritising the previous objectives of breaking chains of transmission at all costs.”
A Government spokesperson said: “We have published the autumn and winter plan for managing the response to coronavirus, which remains a serious risk.
“We keep our approach under review, and no decisions have been taken about next year.”
The plan would reportedly lead to the phasing out of the Covid testing programme, where people can get tested for free if they report feeling any of the three main COVID-19 symptoms
Instead, supposedly under the new plans, you would have to pay for a test from a private company, instead of having your test funded by the Government.
But this also comes as the Government is preparing to boost immunity as we prepare to enter into a difficult winter, where both Covid and the flu could put a strain on health services.
Westminster is now hoping that booster jabs will do enough to prevent another spike in cases and dodge yet another lockdown.
But while Government scrambles to get older people their booster jabs, the virus is currently most prevalent among older children and teenagers.
On Sunday, the NHS said over one million 12- to 15-year-olds in England had been vaccinated, and that NHS teams would visit more than 800 schools this week to offer young people vaccinations before winter strikes.
But some experts are remaining calm.
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Professor Neil Ferguson, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Emergencies (SAGE) said that he didn’t think a winter of chaos is approaching, rejecting claims that we will see another wave like the one experienced last year that led to months of lockdown.
Despite the virus still causing havoc in Europe as several countries reintroduce Covid restrictions, he said that the UK “is in quite a different situation.”
But he warned: “We can’t be complacent, but at the moment I don’t think we’ll be in a situation the Netherlands is coming into where they really do need to get on top of rising case numbers using social distancing.”
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