Covid-19 Response: Autumn and Winter Plan 2021 Overview

The whole United Kingdom is steadily seeing life return closer to normal. Between March and July this year, the government’s roadmap for England reopened the economy and lifted restrictions in four steps. The country is now learning to learning to live with Covid-19, and the main line of defence is now vaccination rather than lockdown. The Test, Trace and Isolate system is reducing the number of positive cases mixing in the community. Rules and regulations have mostly been replaced with advice and guidance on the steps people can take to help reduce the risks to themselves and others.

The public’s continued willingness to get vaccinated, to test and self-isolate and to follow the recommended behaviours and actions has played a key role in lifting restrictions. Over autumn and winter, the government will aim to sustain the progress made and prepare the country for future challenges, while ensuring the National Health Service (NHS) does not come under unsustainable pressure.

Plan A

The government plans to achieve this with Plan A:

  • Building defences through pharmaceutical interventions: vaccines, antivirals and disease modifying therapeutics
  • Identifying and isolating positive cases to limit transmission: Test, Trace and Isolate
  • Supporting the NHS and social care: managing pressures and recovering services
  • Advising people on how to protect themselves and others: clear guidance and communications
  • Pursuing an international approach: helping to vaccinate the world and managing risks at the border

The best way to protect yourself and others from Covid-19 is to get fully vaccinated. People who are fully vaccinated should continue to follow behaviours and actions set out in the guidance on how to help limit the spread of Covid-19.

The behaviours encouraged to prevent the spread include:


Safe behaviours and actions chart


Plan B

The government’s Plan B prioritises measures which help to control transmission of the virus while seeking to minimise economic and social impacts. This includes:

  • Communicating clearly and urgently to the public that the level of risk has increased, and with it the need to behave more cautiously
  • Introducing mandatory vaccine-only Covid-status certification in certain settings
  • Legally mandating face coverings in certain settings

The government would also consider asking people once again to work from home if they can, for a limited period. The government appreciates that this causes more disruption and has greater immediate costs to the economy and some businesses than the other Plan B interventions, so a final decision would be made based on the data at the time.

For the full Covid-19 Response: Autumn and Winter Plan 2021 please visit the Gov.UK website.