Javid set to make statement as Omicron spreads and booster announcement expected

29 November 2021, 08:56 | Updated: 4 January 2022, 12:37

The Health Secretary is due to address the House of Commons as the Government steps up measures to tackle a new strain of Covid-19
The Health Secretary is due to address the House of Commons as the Government steps up measures to tackle a new strain of Covid-19. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

The Health Secretary Sajid Javid is addressing MPs today amid growing fears about the Omicron variant.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Here is what he is expected to say.

What is the Health Secretary going to say?

Sajid Javid is due to make a speech on the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The strain was first identified in South Africa but has been found around the world in the five days since its discovery on Wednesday.

There are three confirmed cases in England and six in Scotland, with that number expected to rise in the coming days.

It prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to announce a range of new restrictions over the weekend, which Mr Javid will likely detail during his speech before they come into force on Tuesday morning.

Read more: Booster jabs for every adult to fight Omicron and save Christmas

Read more: Covid-19: Six cases of Omicron variant found in Scotland

The mask mandate has been brought back in shops and public transport, and teachers and pupils in year seven and above are now being "strongly advised" to wear them in non-classroom communal areas of schools.

Isolation guidance has also been tightened, with close contacts of Omicron cases being ordered to quarantine for 10 days even if they are fully-vaccinated.

International arrivals to England will also need to isolate until they receive a negative PCR test, which they must take by the second day after their arrival.

New measures are the right approach

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are also considering whether to recommend a reduction in the window between the second and third doses of the vaccine, as well as an extension of the rollout to under-40s.

A decision is expected within days, possibly as soon as Monday.

Why is Sajid Javid speaking?

Mr Javid needs to address MPs because the law that allows the Government to enforce mask-wearing has expired, and as a result there is a parliamentary process that needs to be adhered to.

Health Minister Ed Agar told LBC's Nick Ferrari about the process needed, saying: "This is something that will be done by a parliamentary process called statutory instrument.

Covid boosters could be rolled out to all adults from later today

"That allows the secretary of state to make that law and then within 28 days it needs to be debated and voted on in parliament, and that's a standard parliamentary process."

When Nick asked if that was taking place today, Mr Argar said: "My understanding is he will approve that, or sign that, today, and then in the coming weeks there will be the opportunity to debate and vote on that."

Read more: Omicron: Symptoms, cases, and what we know so far

Read more: Wear face masks in school communal areas, pupils in year seven and above told

When will Sajid Javid make his speech?

The Health Secretary is expected to speak around 3.30pm, after an emergency meeting of the G7 health ministers.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

A boy, 8, was killed in the incident.

Boy, 8, dies after crash on quiet Wiltshire cul-de-sac

Five of the six victims from the stabbing have been named.

Victims of Sydney stabbings named as heartbroken tributes flood in following attack by knifeman who killed six

The Israeli Iron Dome air defence system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran

Israel hails ‘success’ in blocking Iran’s unprecedented attack

Rishi Sunak confirmed a number of Iranian drones attacking Israel were shot down by RAF jets.

RAF jets shot down ‘a number’ of Iranian drones attacking Israel, Rishi Sunak says

A demonstrator waves Iranian and Palestinian flags during an anti-Israeli gathering at the Felestin (Palestine) Square in Tehran, Iran

What is the fallout from Iran’s attack on Israel?

Disability advocate Charlotte Anderson advises people on how to apply for PIP.

YouTuber who fills out PIP applications for £650 each says she has ‘only ever lost one claim in six years’

Planning documents show the owners of the pub want to rebuild it in a new location.

Owners of Crooked House agree to rebuild ‘Britain’s wonkiest pub’ - providing it's in a new location

Joe Biden has reaffirmed the US's commitment to defending Israel's security.

Biden reaffirms ‘ironclad support' of Israel as he plans G7 meeting to coordinate ‘diplomatic response to Iran attack’

The IDF said over 300 weapons were fired by Iran.

‘Together we will win’: Netanyahu vows to fight off attacks from Iran after over 300 drones and missiles fired at Israel

Israeli's military have fought off a massive Iranian drone and missile attack - downing more than 200 weapons launched by the hostile state with the help of ace RAF pilots.

Israel fights off massive Iran attack - downing over 200 missiles and drones with help of RAF

Plans have been drawn up for an evacuation of Brits from the Middle East. Defence Secretary Grant Shapps (l) and protesters outside the British Embassy in Tehran (r)

Brits living in the Middle East could be rescued by the Royal Marines in 'Dunkirk-style' evacuation

The knifeman who killed six people in a rampage at a Sydney shopping centre has been named as 40-year-old Joel Cauchi (left)

Pictured: Sydney knifeman, 40, who killed six people before being shot dead by brave policewoman

Iranian drones and missiles have arrived in Israel with explosions in the skies - as officials warn of a "significant response" to the massive attack.

Explosions in skies and sirens across Jerusalem amid Iranian attack - as Israel warns of 'significant response'

USS Bataan which is heading to the Eastern Mediterranean (main) and Joe Biden (r)

US sends amphibious warship and 2,500 Marines into the Eastern Mediterranean after Iran attacks Israel

US and UK forces are helping defend Israel from Iranian drones and missiles after a massive attack was launched.

British and American jets 'shoot down Iranian drones' as Rishi Sunak slams Iran for 'reckless' attack against Israel

President Biden is holding an emergency national security meeting as the US prepares its response to Iran's drone and missile attack on Israel.

President Biden holds high-stakes emergency meeting as Iran launches full-scale attack on Israel