British PM Boris Johnson rules out another lockdown amid rising COVID infections

They also say that making face coverings compulsory in some places will help reduce the spread of COVID as well as other winter viruses, such as flu.

Published: 22nd October 2021 09:57 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd October 2021 09:57 PM   |  A+A-

Boris Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (File Photo | AP)


LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted on Friday that the country's rising COVID-19 infections daily figure, which crossed 50,000 this week, is "fully in line" with predictions and ruled out the need for another national lockdown.

His comments came as it emerged that experts from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), which advises the government, has said that it is time to reintroduce stricter COVID measures such as asking people to work from home.

They also say that making face coverings compulsory in some places will help reduce the spread of COVID as well as other winter viruses, such as flu.

"We keep all measures under constant review, we'll do whatever we have to do to protect the public," Johnson told reporters during a visit to a vaccination centre in west London on Friday.

"But the numbers that we're seeing at the moment are fully in line with what we expected in the autumn and winter plan. What we want people to do is to come forward and get their jabs," he said.

"We also want young people, we want kids at school to be getting their jabs with complete confidence and there will be booking systems opening from tomorrow in addition to the vaccination program in schools. The message is that the boosters are fantastic, the levels of protection are really very high," he added.

On whether a full national lockdown was required, he noted: "I've got to tell you at the moment that we see absolutely nothing to indicate that that is on the cards at all."

On Thursday, the UK hit 52,009 COVID-19 infections and 115 new coronavirus deaths.

"We always expected that we would see numbers rise right about now - that is happening. And you've also got into account the waning effectiveness of the first two jabs, so get your booster now," said Johnson.

He confirmed that experts are looking into whether the time between a second COVID-19 vaccine dose and a third top-up booster jab should be shortened from six months to five months.

The National Health Service (NHS) said COVID booster jabs have now been delivered or booked in at almost nine in 10 care homes as the NHS vaccination programme accelerates ahead of winter.

"NHS staff are working flat out to vaccinate eligible groups ahead of winter – it is testament to them that just four weeks after we kicked off the booster rollout that we have already provided well over four million boosters to eligible people," said Dr Nikki Kanani, the deputy lead for the NHS vaccination programme.

"The booster is not simply a nice to have, it will provide important extra protection as we go into the winter period. So if you have been invited or a family or friend has been invited, please do come forward," she said.

According to NHS England, almost 84 million vaccines have been delivered and nine in 10 adults have had their first dose of a COVID-19 dose.

And, more than 4 million people have received the important top-up booster jab, currently being offered to over-50s after a gap of six months from their second doses.

"As winter approaches, we are in a race between the virus and the vaccine so I urge anyone eligible to book their booster vaccine, let's all pull together now so we can continue protecting ourselves, our loved ones and our NHS. It is clear that vaccines save lives and it is our responsibility to do everything we can to reduce the risk for vulnerable people in care homes," said UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

The NHS is also inviting parents to book their children aged 12-15 in for a single dose of the vaccine after expanding the National Booking Service to allow young people to attend vaccination centres.


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