COVID-19: ‘In our hands’ whether or not coronavirus restrictions will return over winter, says Tory party co-chair | UK News

The possible introduction of further coronavirus restrictions this winter is in “our hands”, Oliver Dowden has said.

The Conservative party co-chairman told Kay Burley that there are “no plans or anything else to stop Christmas happening” this year as the situation is different compared to 2020 because of the success of the vaccination rollout.

But Mr Dowden warned that people must take up the offer of a booster jab when invited for one in order to keep the chances of further rules being introduced as low as possible.

He also refused to directly answer a question on whether travel restrictions could be brought back.

Speaking to Sky News on Monday morning, Mr Dowden said “it is in our hands” whether further restrictions are introduced this winter, adding: “If you get the booster when the call comes that is the biggest wall of defence that we have against COVID.”

The Conservative party co-chairman continued: “The way we avoid a challenging position is to take the booster – so I can assure you that there are no plans or anything else to stop Christmas happening.

“The huge difference this time is the vaccine and the huge impact of the vaccine – and the way that we keep that vaccine topped up, the way that we keep that wall of defence protected is get your booster when you get the call up.”

Mr Dowden’s comments after experts said this weekend that they don’t believe the UK will see a “catastrophic winter wave” that will require restrictions over Christmas.

Professor Neil Ferguson, a member of SAGE, said on Saturday that the UK was in “quite a different situation” to some European countries reintroducing measures as their cases increase.

Austria, for example, has announced a 10-day lockdown for anyone who’s not double-jabbed and there were arrests and protests in the Netherlands over a new partial lockdown.

UK figures on Sunday showed another 36,517 daily cases and 63 COVID-related deaths. That compares with 30,305 cases and 62 deaths this time last week.

The latest seven-day average for cases is 37,488 – a fall from a month before when it was nearly 40,000.

Average deaths stand at 156, compared with 117 a month before.

Meanwhile, another 448,670 people had a booster vaccination on Saturday, taking the total who’ve received a third jab to 12,613,256.

Sky News