Sajid Javid to give Covid press conference today as cases surge

Health secretary expected to urge Britons to take up booster jabs as cases soar

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Wednesday 20 October 2021 17:04
Comments
Tory minister rules out winter Covid lockdown

Health secretary Sajid Javid is expected to hold the government’s first coronavirus press conference for several weeks at 5pm today, amid concerns over rising infection rates.

Mr Javid is not expected to trigger the goverment’s Plan B, which would involve the return of mandatory face-coverings, vaccine passports in nightclubs and the resumption of guidance to work from home where possible.

But it is thought that he will urge people to reduce the danger of restrictions returning by ensuring they take up vaccine boosters when offered.

Downing Street was not able immediately to confirm reports of the planned press conference, which would be the first since Boris Johnson announced his winter plan for Covid five weeks ago.

The chief executive of the NHS Confederation, Matthew Taylor, today urged the government to activate Plan B “without delay”, warning that “without pre-emptive action, we risk stumbling into a winter crisis”.

But business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the government was not intending to bring back curbs, telling Sky News: “We don’t want to go into lockdown or further restrictions.”

Alarm has been raised after the government announced on Tuesday that 223 people died after testing positive for Covid – the highest number since early March.

There were more than 43,000 lab-confirmed Covid cases reported on the same day – almost eight times more than the rate in March.

Despite the rising numbers of cases and deaths, the government’s Sage scientists have abandoned their weekly meetings and are now meeting only once a month for talks.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in