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ukactive has issued the following response to the Government’s ‘Living With Covid’ strategy announced by the Prime Minister

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “The ‘Living with Covid’ strategy announced by the Prime Minister marks a new chapter in the fight against COVID-19, providing different challenges and opportunities for our nation’s recovery.

“However, it is important the Government provides greater clarity and detail as part of this strategy – for both ukactive members and the communities they serve – in order to ensure it is effective in its approach to restoring our nation’s health.

“Many gyms, pools, and leisure centres face continued difficulties caused by both loss of consumer confidence and footfall from the COVID-19 crisis, most recently impacted by the Omnicom variant and the Government’s Plan B restrictions.

“The Government must make clear what precise interventions it will make to encourage footfall back into city centres, which is vital for city-based fitness and leisure facilities, especially given the omission of bespoke support as part of the Plan B measures.

“Furthermore, we are deeply concerned by the  lack of detail on public health interventions for our communities, aside from further vaccines, which will be essential to improve resilience as we face ongoing crises in both physical and mental health.

“The Government cannot ignore the impact that health inequalities has had on the level of hospitalisations and fatalities throughout the pandemic – a point made clear by Sir Patrick Vallance during the announcement of this strategy.

“Levelling up the physical and mental health of the nation should be front and centre of this strategy, but it isn’t.

“Pharmaceutical interventions must be married with a major public health drive, putting physical health at the heart of our recovery.

“This should include the Government – and specifically the Department of Health and Social Care, its agency the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – working with leaders in the sport and physical activity sector on plans that can build our national resilience ahead of next winter and any potential new variants so that we meet the next challenge as a fitter, stronger nation.”