Sajid Javid vows Christmas WON'T be cancelled this year

Sajid Javid vows Christmas WON'T be cancelled this year
Sajid Javid vows Christmas WON'T be cancelled this year

Sajid Javid today vowed Christmas will not be cancelled this year as he insisted ministers are not expecting 'any more lockdowns'.

The Health Secretary insisted 'of course' the festive season will go ahead as Boris Johnson prepares to unveil the government's 'winter plan'.

In his big set-piece on Tuesday, Mr Johnson will scrap some of the swingeing powers that the government took to manage the response to the disease.

And he will say that vaccines can be the main defence against a feared surge in cases over the coming months - avoiding the need for drastic restrictions to be reimposed. 

A booster jab programme could begin as early as this month, while other measures in the 'toolbox' for tackling outbreaks will include masks. 

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However, Mr Johnson made similar commitments on Christmas last year. He suggested it would be 'inhuman' to stop friends and family spending time together - before doing just that by imposing tough new lockdown on millions of people after the Kent variant emerged. 

Asked on the BBC's Andrew Marr show if Britons will 'get Christmas' this year, Mr Javid laughed and said: 'Yes, of course we get Christmas and the New Year.'

He insisted he is 'not anticipating any more lockdowns' although he stressed that governments could take 'anything off the table'. 'I just don't see how we get to another lockdown,' he added.

Sajid Javid (pictured on the Marr Show today) insisted 'of course' the festive season will go ahead as Boris Johnson prepares to unveil the government's 'winter plan'

Sajid Javid (pictured on the Marr Show today) insisted 'of course' the festive season will go ahead as Boris Johnson prepares to unveil the government's 'winter plan'

Mr Johnson (pictured in Downing Street last December) made similar commitments on Christmas last year. He suggested it would be 'inhuman' to stop friends and family spending time together - before doing just that by imposing tough new lockdown on millions of people after the Kent variant emerged

Mr Johnson (pictured in Downing Street last December) made similar commitments on Christmas last year. He suggested it would be 'inhuman' to stop friends and family spending time together - before doing just that by imposing tough new lockdown on millions of people after the Kent variant emerged

Britain's vaccine drive is continuing to roll forward, taking the total amount of adults fully protected against the virus to just under 43.9million (80.8 per cent)

Britain's vaccine drive is continuing to roll forward, taking the total amount of adults fully protected against the virus to just under 43.9million (80.8 per cent)

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Double-jabbed travellers 'to be spared PCR tests next month' 

Double-jabbed travellers will no longer have to take expensive PCR Covid tests when returning to the UK, the Government is poised to announce.

Officials are working towards scrapping the requirement for green and amber list countries before the half-term holidays next month, The Mail on Sunday can reveal, providing a huge boost for millions of holidaymakers and the beleaguered travel industry.

Travellers will no longer need Covid tests before leaving for Britain, while the unpopular PCR tests currently required on the second day after arrival will be replaced by cheaper lateral flow tests.

The move will slash the cost of family holidays by hundreds of pounds. Currently, the PCR test can cost more than £100, while the NHS offers free lateral flow tests.

The plan will be discussed this week by Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove who form the so-called Covid-O committee.

The change would also tackle fears that some PCR firms are profiteering and could provide an incentive for people to be vaccinated, as the new rules would only apply to those who have been double jabbed.

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As well as the lockdown promise, Mr Javid dramatically ruled out compulsory Covid passports being introduced in England next month after a huge Tory outcry. 

The Health Secretary declared that the government 'will not be going ahead' with the controversial move for nightclubs and major events, ahead of Boris Johnson unveiling the government's 'winter plan' on Tuesday.

The U-turn comes after ministers were sent out to defend the proposals last week despite heavy fire from Conservative MPs who branded them 'unsupportable, coercive and discriminatory'. 

Responding to briefing about the policy being axed in interviews this morning, Mr Javid only initially told Sky News that he 'hoped we can avoid' the step. 

But little more than an hour later he was telling the BBC's Andrew Marr show that although the option is being 'held in reserve', 'we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports'. 

Government sources stressed that it is still possible the plans will be revisited if hospitalisations look at risk of running out of control later in the year.  

The decision draws another dividing line within the UK, as Nicola Sturgeon has announced that a certification scheme will be launched in Scotland from October 1. 

Last week vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi insisted Covid passports were the right thing to do even though he admitted they 'went against everything I believe in'.

But briefing emerged in the Sunday Times about the U-turn. 

Firms and venues who are already demanding proof of vaccination will be allowed to continue to do so, but they will not be any legal obligation.

Mr Javid was at first reluctant to give a firm commitment, but then stated that the plan will not go ahead - although the concept will be kept 'in reserve'.

'I've never liked the idea of saying to people you must show your papers or something to do what is just an everyday activity, but we were right to properly look at it,' he said.

'We've looked at it properly and whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I'm pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports.'

The shift poses a challenge for Ms Sturgeon, who again defended her own proposals in

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