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UK PM to announce future Covid waves will be treated with drugs not restrictions on our lives

The core of the strategy to deal with another frightening Covid-19 wave will be pharmaceutical and medical interventions rather than lockdowns and restrictions on our lives, the PM will announce this afternoon.

But this means laying in stocks of antivirals like paxlovid and molnupiravir, to protect the vulnerable, and that will cost money.

And a second source of cost is a testing and surveillance system to catch a new wave early enough to distribute the antivirals. Which is also far from cheap.

Hence the dispute this morning between the Treasury and the Deptartment of Health and Social Care.

The Treasury seems to have won and Sajid Javid will “reprioritise” from within his existing budget.

A government source confirmed: “A minimum level of response needs to be maintained so that we have the ability to rapidly scale up and deal with future waves through pharmaceutical interventions rather than restrictions – as we did with Omicron.”