- Health department’s daily update shows Covid cases cross 50,000 for the second time in a week
- The figure is the second highest recorded since July 17, when 54,674 infections were posted.
- Experts fear the growing outbreak may cause a more contagious branch of the delta, AY4.2. will be called
Sajid Javid rejected the demands of NHS owners for the government to return to its Covid winter ‘Plan B’ amid rising infections and a sluggish booster vaccine programme.
The health secretary insisted that ministers would not reintroduce face masks and WFH guidance ‘at this point’ while addressing the nation from the podium at the No10’s first Covid press conference in a month.
Mr Javid said that while the NHS was seeing ‘more pressure’, he was confident the pressure was not ‘sustainable’. He said ministers would “be vigilant” as cases could still rise to 100,000 a day this winter.
The government’s decision to keep its nerves on the restrictions will anger NHS leaders, who claim hospitals are already burdened with backlogs caused by Covid, flu and the pandemic.
Mr Javid used the press conference to urge Britons to come forward for their booster jabs to accelerate the sluggish vaccine campaign – which has seen only a quarter of care home residents.
He said the country was still ahead in the race against the virus thanks to the initial Covid vaccination effort, but claimed that weak immunity meant the lead was ‘narrow’.
Urging the country to get his booster, Mr Javid said that a booster will not only save lives, but it will also ‘protect our freedom’. ‘The booster couldn’t be more important,’ he said.
Daily infections are currently on the verge of crossing the 50,000-mark for the first time in months. Health department officials today recorded 49,139 positive tests, up 15 per cent in the previous week.
Meanwhile, hospitalizations rose 15.3 percent week-on-week to 869, while deaths rose by nearly a third to 179. Both measures lag behind case numbers by a few weeks, as it takes time for someone to become seriously unwell. After catching the virus.
Mr Javid also announced that the UK has purchased hundreds of thousands of ‘game-changing’ pills that can be used this winter to treat Britons with Covid at home.
The UK has purchased 480,000 antiviral mollupiravir tablets made by US pharmaceutical company Merck and 250,000 PF-073 courses from Pfizer. Before Britons can get their hands on the drugs, they still need to be approved by the UK’s medical regulator.
Sajid Javid today left the door open for No 10 to adopt his ‘Plan B’ amid growing apprehensions about the situation in the winter.
In other coronavirus developments today:
- It turns out that Britain’s top scientific advisers met only twice in the past three months;
- Mr. Quarteng said the holidays would not be canceled again due to rising Covid cases and dismissed the idea of another lockdown;
- Figures show that there are about a third fewer mass vaccination centers in operation now than the original two-dose Covid vaccine program was at the peak of its powers in April;
- GPs reject ‘out-and-out’ No. 10’s £250 million offers to give patients face-to-face appointments;
- Michael Gove had to escape a police cordon as he was ambushed without protection by a mob of anti-Vexor protesters;
- NHS Chief Executive Amanda…