The chief executive of the UK’s Health Protection Agency has said the number of daily coronavirus deaths is “moving in the wrong direction” and the rising number of infections is “worrisome”.
Speaking at a government press conference on Wednesday, Dr Jenny Harris said the country is “taking the winter off” with a very high rate of coronavirus cases.
She also warned that infection levels were “not far from what they were last winter”.
It comes as Britain reported nearly 50,000 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, a day after the country saw its highest daily death toll since March.
Sajid Javid rejected NHS leaders’ pleas for the government to introduce a “Plan B”, including measures such as mandatory face masks. At the Downing Street conference, he said the pressure facing the NHS was not “sustainable” at the moment.
However, the health secretary said the country could “lose” its progress if people did not have booster jabs.
Overnight, NHS Confederation chief Matthew Taylor warned that the UK risked “stumbling into a winter crisis” without drastic measures. Healthcare is “on edge”, he said.
Ministers have been accused of “burying their heads in the sand” amid fears of a fourth wave.
Javid encourages Tory lawmakers to wear masks
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said Tory lawmakers should wear masks.
In a question at the press conference, FT’s Sebastian Payne pointed out that many of the health secretary’s colleagues did not wear face coverings in the Commons this week, while the government is now encouraging the public to take the same precautions.
In response, the minister said: “I think it’s a very fair point.”
“We have a role to play in setting an example even as private individuals, I think it is a very fair point and I am sure a lot of people have heard you,” he said.
‘If we don’t do our job’, the health secretary says the restrictions may come back
The health secretary has said the country could face sanctions if people do not do their “little”.
Sajid Javid’s message comes as part of the government’s campaign to encourage individual responsibility.
He said people can do their “little” by getting their booster jabs, taking lateral flow tests more regularly, or opting to hold social gatherings outside.
“Am I saying that we may face sanctions if we do not do our job? Yes, I am saying so,” the minister said.
R rates ‘hovering’ between 0.9 and 1.1, Harris says
The UK’s virus reproduction rate – or R rate – is currently between 0.9 and 1.1, Dr Jenny Harris has said.
The chief executive of the UK Health Protection Agency urged the public to help reduce the infection rate, saying “fairly small behavior changes in all of us will bring it down”.
He said wearing a mask is “really important” to prevent the spread of the virus.
Javid warns, ‘Pandemic is not over’
here is Jane Dalton With a roundup of comments made by Sajid Javid at this afternoon’s coronavirus press conference.
Daily Covid cases could rise to 100,000 this winter, warns Sajid Javid
Deaths rising in the wrong direction: Chief of Health Security
Javid warns progress could be ‘lost’ if people don’t have vaccine boosters
The health secretary has said the UK could “lose” the progress made against the virus if people do not get vaccine boosters.
“We may lose it, we may actually lose progress,” Sajid Javid told reporters on Wednesday afternoon.
Health service ‘very, very busy’, says medical director of NHS England
NHS England’s national medical director has said the health service is “very, very busy indeed”.
Professor Stephen Powis said at the No. 10 press conference that more than 6,000 Covid-19 patients were in the hospital at the moment.
“And I expect that number to increase over the next week or two as infection rates continue to rise,” he said.
“It’s not just covid, we have an eye for the flu season and we don’t know what’s going to happen with the flu this year, but there’s a risk that we’ll get more flu back and it’s worse than in years past. Will happen because we missed a season last year.”
Javid urges people to ‘take more responsibility’
The health minister has asked the public to “take more responsibility”, while saying the government will not make face coverings mandatory for the time being.
Asked by a member of the public whether the policy should be reintroduced, Sajid Javid said, “We think it is the right decision to learn to live with this virus… saying.”
He also said the pressure on the NHS was not sustainable “at this point”.
“If at any point we feel the pressure is untenable, we will not hesitate to act,” he said.
Britain ‘begins winter’ with very high number of cases, warns Harris
The head of Test and Trace has said the UK is “getting away the winter” with very high coronavirus case rates.
Jenny Harris warned that infection levels were “not far from where they were last winter”.
“Fortunately he is not currently working in serious illness and deaths,” she said.
Dr Harris also said the number of daily deaths was “moving in the wrong direction”.
Javid turns down the call for Plan B
The government has rejected calls for the implementation of “Plan B” but encouraged people to take steps to reduce the rate of infection.
Speaking at the press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Sajid Javid urged the public to get vaccinated.
The health secretary said vaccination was the UK’s “primary form of defence”. But he advised people to take other proactive steps, including meeting others outside if possible, and using lateral flow tests as part of their “weekly routine.”
UK acquires two Covid-19 antivirals
Sajid Javid has confirmed that the UK has secured deals for two coronavirus antivirals, pending regulatory approval.
The drugs developed by Merck & Pfizer could be used to treat patients by the end of the year.
“We may soon have a new defense in our arsenal with two new antiviral drugs,” the health minister said in an earlier statement.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /