Javid's jabs plea: Health Sec says 'get your booster' as he rules out Covid Plan B

20 October 2021, 18:15 | Updated: 20 October 2021, 18:24

Sajid Javid urged people to get their jabs
Sajid Javid urged people to get their jabs. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

The Covid 'Plan B' will not be put in place despite rising coronavirus cases, Sajid Javid has confirmed.

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It means the contingency package of restrictions like mandatory face coverings, the possibility of vaccine passports, a call to work from home and, as a last resort, lockdowns, will not be introduced for now.

However, Mr Javid did confirm he wants to shore up the UK's defences against the virus as cases push to 50,000 a day, and recommended the public takes their own steps to stop the virus' spread.

He also pleaded for people to get their vaccines, whether it's their first, second or third jab, if eligible.

Read more: What is the UK's Covid-19 winter 'Plan B'?

Read more: Govt secures two new antiviral drugs to help treat vulnerable Covid patients this winter

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday, the health secretary said cases could reach 100,000 a day.

He said hospital admissions are approaching 1,000 a day and daily deaths are over 100.

And he added: "We'll do what it takes to make sure that this pressure doesn't become unsustainable and that we don't allow the NHS to become overwhelmed."

Read more: Covid-19 crisis in numbers

The minister went on: "This pandemic is not over. Thanks to the vaccination programme, yes the link between cases and hospitalisations and deaths has significantly weakened, but it's not broken.

"We wont be implementing our Plan B of contingency measures at this point but we'll be staying vigilant, preparing for all eventualities while strengthening our vital defences that can help us fight back against this virus."

Meanwhile, Dr Jenny Harries said there is a "steady increase" in hospital admissions as winter approaches.

The chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency said the number of deaths is "moving in the wrong direction", with the past two days having seen rates rise to their highest for some time.

The contingency measures have been lined up by the Government amid concern winter will bring increased challenges as people spend more time indoors, where the virus can spread more easily, and the introduction of more flu to the mix.

The Government will still have the stinging memory of its November firebreak lockdown in England, which failed to curb cases before the Delta variant's fast spread caused ministers to effectively cancel Christmas for millions.

Mr Javid recommended meeting outdoors where possible and wearing face coverings in crowded places.

He has also announced the Government has struck a deal for two new antiviral drugs to combat Covid.

The minister said they will form part of the Government's plan to bolster Britain's defence against Covid, alongside the vaccine booster programme and a renewed call for young people and anyone who has yet to be jabbed to get a dose.