20 July 2021
As England moved to the fourth step on the Government’s roadmap, with many restrictions lifted or at least made a matter of personal responsibility, more details have been made available about what lies ahead.
Speaking from Chequers where he is self-isolating, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that it was essential to keep up the system of “Test, Trace and Isolate”.
“I know how frustrating it is for all those who have been affected — or pinged and I want to explain that people identified as contacts of cases are at least five times more likely to be infected than others”, he went on.
In the hope that the wall of immunity in the country from vaccinations will be even higher, he confirmed that England will move on 16 August to a system of testing rather than isolation for those who are double vaccinated.
While a very small number of named, fully vaccinated, critical workers will be allowed to leave isolation solely to work in hospitals and care homes or to ensure the supplies of food, water, electricity and medicines, the vast majority of people will have to continue to isolate if pinged.
Mr Johnson then highlighted that 35% of 18- to 30-year-olds — three million people — are completely unvaccinated.
Urging them to take action, the Prime Minister said: “I would remind everybody that some of life’s most important pleasures and opportunities are likely to be increasingly dependent on vaccination”.
This may be necessary for foreign travel, he said: it will definitely be needed if nightclubs are to remain open.
“I should serve notice now”, Mr Johnson warned, “that by the end of September — when all over 18s will have had the chance to be double jabbed — we are planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather”.
Proof of a negative test will no longer be sufficient.
Vaccines for vulnerable young people
Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who is also isolating have tested positive for Covid, released a statement on the same day as the Prime Minister.
He said that he had accepted advice from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that more vulnerable young people at greatest risk from the virus should now benefit from Covid-19 vaccines.
“Young people aged 12 to 15 with severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s Syndrome, immunosuppression and multiple or severe learning disabilities, as well as people who are household contacts of individuals who are immunosuppressed, will be eligible for vaccination soon”, he confirmed.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for people aged 12 and over.
“Today’s advice does not recommend vaccinating under-18s without underlying health conditions at this point in time”, Mr Javid said. “But the JCVI will continue to review new data, and consider whether to recommend vaccinating under-18s without underlying health conditions at a future date.”