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Sajid Javid to give Covid press conference today as cases surge

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Health secretary Sajid Javid is expected to hold the government’s first coronavirus press conference for several weeks at 5pm today, amid concerns over rising infection rates.

Mr Javid is not expected to trigger the goverment’s Plan B, which would involve the return of mandatory face-coverings, vaccine passports in nightclubs and the resumption of guidance to work from home where possible.

But it is thought that he will urge people to reduce the danger of restrictions returning by ensuring they take up vaccine boosters when offered.

Downing Street was not able immediately to confirm reports of the planned press conference, which would be the first since Boris Johnson announced his winter plan for Covid five weeks ago.

The chief executive of the NHS Confederation, Matthew Taylor, today urged the government to activate Plan B “without delay”, warning that “without pre-emptive action, we risk stumbling into a winter crisis”.

But business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the government was not intending to bring back curbs, telling Sky News: “We don’t want to go into lockdown or further restrictions.”

Alarm has been raised after the government announced on Tuesday that 223 people died after testing positive for Covid – the highest number since early March.

There were more than 43,000 lab-confirmed Covid cases reported on the same day – almost eight times more than the rate in March.

Despite the rising numbers of cases and deaths, the government’s Sage scientists have abandoned their weekly meetings and are now meeting only once a month for talks.

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Covid announcement – live: Sajid Javid to lead press conference as NHS leaders call for Plan B

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