Boris Johnson announced a detailed statement on Monday about the UK winter plan. The plan outlines the rules and regulations of daily life until the vaccine is ready for the people of the UK. He confirmed that the nationwide lockdown will conclude as outlined in December, and England is going to move back to the Tier scheme lockdowns that will be stricter than the last time. The plan aims to achieve three main objectives-  

  • The first one is about bringing the R rate of transmission of infection under the significant number of one and trying to sustain this process. For example, an R number of two would mean that each infected person is going to infect the other two people that lead in the exponential increase of the disease. The intention is to retain the number as low as possible so that this will lead to an average of fewer than one person taking infection.
  • The second objective is to discover and adopt more productive ways of controlling the virus to bring life closer to ‘normal’. It will involve using vaccines, performing new medical procedures, and enhancing the ‘Test and Trace’ programme. Whereas, the third objective is to reduce suffering to the economy and to the nation as well as to businesses and organisations. 

The vaccine is the key to success in this plan as it can provide long-lasting and adequate immunity to the virus, and in turn, this will essentially decrease the death rate and may prevent the transmission. The UK government has dealt with many different vaccine development corporations and has acquired access to more than 300 million doses. However, there is still a demand for the effective treatment setups that need to be arranged in order to support the people who can’t be vaccinated.

  • Another important aspect of this plan is testing. The UK government has focused on symptomatic testing until now. But now they are planning to install more testing places around the city to control the infection developing from asymptomatic people.

Having the ability to identify people with the infection but are not exhibiting any indications is a game-winner in the fight against the virus and has a massive impact on infection rates. They plan to increase the testing of people who have come in contact with anyone who has been told to quarantine. In the meantime, an extra £6billion will be invested into the NHS Test, bringing its overall investment to some £20billion. 

The rules are again introduced, regarding the Tier level-

In Tier 1 that is, Low alert, people can hold gatherings of six members, indoors and outdoors, while in Tier 2, that is a medium alert, only five people will be allowed to socialise. On the other hand, in Tier 3, the highest alert level, maximum group of six can only meet in outdoor places like playgrounds. Restaurants will remain locked except for takeaway in regions under Tier 3 limitations, but the jurisdictions are somewhat more carefree for other tiers. In tier two, restaurants can operate but with the restricted entrance and can serve alcohol only with a substantial meal. Whereas in Tier one, all of the places mentioned previously can re-open again but with the table service only. The last order constraint is at 10 pm with the venues closing by 11 pm.

-Kshitij Gupta