Covid: Sajid Javid warns cases could rise to '100,000 a day'

Government insist they will not implement coronavirus Plan B

Published Last updated

The Government has no current plans to implement its Plan B for tackling coronavirus, the Health Secretary has said, adding that ministers do not believe the pressures on the NHS are unsustainable.

In his first ever Downing Street press conference, Sajid Javid repeated his warning that Covid-19 cases could reach 100,000 a day as the country enters a challenging winter period.

He said the UK was seeing “greater pressure” on the NHS but said the Government will “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.”

Deaths “remain mercifully low” at the moment, he said, but added: “We’ve always known that the winter months would pose the greatest threat to our road to recovery.”

He added: “Thanks to the vaccination programme, the link between hospitalisations and deaths has significantly weakened, but it’s not broken.

“So we must all remember that this virus will be with us for the long term and remains a threat to our loved ones, and a threat to the progress that we’ve made in getting our nation closer to normal life.”

Latest Government figures show that a further 179 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday.

As of 9am on Wednesday, there had been a further 49,139 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK.

Hospital admissions stand at 868 on average per day over the last seven days, up from 780 a week earlier, a rise of 11%.

Earlier, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation which represents health bodies, warned “we risk stumbling into a winter crisis” unless measures such as face masks and vaccine passports – the Government’s “Plan B” for the coming months – are introduced in England.

He called for ministers to come up with a “Plan C” of even tougher restrictions if those measures are insufficient to address pressure on the health service.