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Sunday, Jan 23, 2022

Sajid Javid warns Covid cases could rise to 100,000 daily in briefing

Sajid Javid warns Covid cases could rise to 100,000 daily in briefing

The Health Secretary issued a stark warning daily Covid cases could rise to 100,000 a day in a major press briefing on Wednesday.
The Health Secretary issued a stark warning daily Covid cases could rise to 100,000 a day in a major press briefing on Wednesday.

Sajid Javid said the Government would not implement the Plan B yet but encouraged people to take up their coronavirus booster jabs.

The briefing comes amid NHS bosses warning measures should be brought in to prevent coronavirus patients overwhelming hospitals this winter.

Mr Javid said the “pandemic is not over” as he set out the plan for the weeks to come.

He said: “Ahead of winter just as we expected we are starting to see this impact. Cases are rising. Yesterday we reported 43,738 cases, up 16 per cent.

“As high as a 100,000 a day. We are also seeing greater pressure on the NHS. I would like to thank everyone who is working so hard to keep us safe.

“We don’t allow the NHS to become overwhelmed. Deaths are still sadly over 100 a day. This pandemic is not over. Thanks to the vaccination programme, yes the link between cases and hospitalisations and deaths has significantly weakened but not broken.

“This virus will be with us for the long term. It is a threat to our loved ones.

“We are looking closely at the data, we are not implementing Plan B at this point. We are preparing for all eventualities.

“Today as we approach this critical time. I want to bring you up to date with some of the work we are doing to strength these defences.

“One line defence is treatments. I have some positive news to share today, we should be proud the UK has been at the forefront of cutting edge treatments.”

Mr Javid announced the Government has secured deals for two antiviral drugs to provide treatment for Covid-19 to tackle the surge over winter.

Elsewhere in his speech, the Health Secretary urged people to get their jabs “not just to save lives but to keep your freedoms too”.

The Government put an emphasis on the successful rollout of the vaccination programme.

He said: “With winter ahead, we can’t blow it now. Maintain our lead, by strengthen our vaccination programme. Double our efforts anyone who is eligible to take up the jab.”

He added: “Covid mutates, like any virus, a new version of the Delta variant is now spreading. While there is no reason at this point to believe it poses a greater threat, the next variant or the one after that might do.

“We need to be ready for what lies around the corner. Our ongoing programme of booster jabs is so important. Today we have reached out milestone of four million top up jabs.

“We’ve got the jabs, we just need the arms to put them in. If you are over 50 and had your jab over six months ago, you are eligible.”

Mr Javid stressed no one wants to go back to the draconian lockdown laws the UK faced earlier this year.

Addressing the nation, he said “little steps make a big difference”.

He added: “None of us want to go backwards now, we must all play our part in this national mission. Getting the jab when the time comes, whether it is for Covid-19 or flu, although vaccinations are our primary form of defence.

“There are many things we can do, meet outdoors while possible. If you can only meet indoors, let in fresh air. Making and taking rapid tests. Make them part of your weekly routine.”

The NHS confederation has called on ministers to implement the Government’s Plan B Covid strategy.

However, the Government has dismissed the appeals to enforce the restrictions, which include mandatory wearing of face masks in crowds, the reintroduction of working from home and the introducing vaccine passports.

Ministers say the UK’s vaccine booster programme and plan to immunise children aged between 12 and 15 will avoid the need for tighter restrictions even as the NHS battles winter flu and a backlog of non-Covid treatment.

The UK’s daily Covid cases have risen sharply in recent weeks.

There have been more than 40,000 new cases recorded daily for the last seven days in a row.

On Tuesday 43,738 new infections were recorded and a further 223 deaths were reported - the highest number since March.

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