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Sajid Javid announcement: Health Sec to issue urgent update as lockdown fears explode

3 min read

BBC Breakfast: Dan Walker quizzes Javid on booster scheme

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The Health Secretary will inform the Commons of the Government’s new booster jab drive announced during a TV address by the Prime Minister on Sunday evening. Mr Johnson left Tory MPs concerned he was laying the groundwork to reimpose the stay at home order if the new coronavirus variant continues to surge.

The Prime Minister hinted extra measures would be needed unless all UK adults received a booster in just weeks.

He warned: “A wave of Omicron through a population that was not boosted would risk a level of hospitalisation that could overwhelm our NHS and lead sadly to very many deaths.”

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith warned the introduction of Plan B appeared to be a “stepping stone” towards lockdown, saying it “feels like” lockdown by stealth.

Mr Johnson has set an ambitious target of the end of the month to have offered a third injection to all eligible UK adults.

It requires administering around a million doses a day.

Mr Javid will provide more details on the plans at 3.30pm.

He will also take questions from MPs worried the Government could yet introduce further restrictions.

However, speaking to the media this morning, the Health Secretary warned he could not guarantee measures such as closing schools would not be necessary.

He told LBC: “If you are asking me for guarantees, I will just say – as the Health Secretary, of course, I’m not the Education Secretary – as the Health Secretary, that there are, when it comes to our fight against this pandemic, there are no guarantees.

“But what we do know that works is, in this case, a booster shot of the vaccine.”

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Appearing on Sky News, he added: “It’s spreading at a phenomenal rate, something that we’ve never seen before, it’s doubling every two to three days in infections.

“That means we’re facing a tidal wave of infection, we’re once again in a race between the vaccine and the virus.”

So far more than 23 million Britons have received a booster jab.

In total, over 46 million have received two doses.

There have been 3,137 confirmed cases of Omicron in the UK.

This morning, Mr Javid said about ten of those with the strain have been hospitalised.

“There’s about 10 people that are confirmed, in England, with Omicron,” he said.

“At this point in time I can’t confirm a death.

“There is always a lag between infection and then hospitalisation and then, sadly, death.”

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