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Downing Street briefing: Sajid Javid urges people to book booster Covid jabs as new drugs to stop virus revealed


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The Health Secretary has revealed people most vulnerable to Covid could soon benefit from two new drugs to help stop the virus spreading.

Sajid Javid at a Downing Street briefing today – the first for several weeks – as calls continued for the government to introduce its Plan B strategy, in response to rising Covid cases, deaths and hospital admissions.

Sajid Javid. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA
Sajid Javid. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA

During his speech, he placed emphasis on the Covid booster jabs and encouraged all those who are eligible for the third dose of the vaccine to book an appointment as soon as possible.

A fresh vaccine drive is being pushed in response to growing infection rates.

It also emerged that the government has agreed a deal for antiviral treatments which attack coronavirus at an early stage when someone is infected, or has been in contact with someone who is.

If approved by the medicines regulator, they'll be used to try to reduce hospitalisation and deaths linked to Covid.

Mr Javid said: "I am pleased to announce we have signed two landmark deals to supply hundreds of thousands of doses of two new antivirals.

People who are eligible for the third dose of the vaccine to book an appointment. Photo: PA Media
People who are eligible for the third dose of the vaccine to book an appointment. Photo: PA Media

"These antivirals have the potential to speed up recovery time and to stop infections from progressing.

"If they get MHRA approval then we can provide vulnerable patients with vital protection this summer. I want to deploy them as quickly as possible."

The NHS Confederation has called on ministers to implement the Plan B Covid strategy, which would reintroduce mandatory face coverings and the work from home mandate.

It comes as the UK’s daily Covid cases have risen sharply in recent weeks and have been above 40,000 for seven days in a row, with 43,738 new infections reported yesterday.

During the briefing, Mr Javid said cases could rise as high as 100,000 a day.

Sajid Javid urges people to book booster Covid jabs as new drugs to stop virus revealed
Sajid Javid urges people to book booster Covid jabs as new drugs to stop virus revealed

But despite rising numbers and, Mr Javid said the government will not be implementing contingency measures, instead it will "stay vigilant and prepare for all eventualities."

Another 223 deaths were also recorded, up from 181 a week earlier and the highest since March.

Earlier today Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng ruled out another national lockdown and said Plan B measures were not currently under consideration.

When asked whether the UK could be facing another lockdown, Mr Kwarteng told Sky News: “I would rule that out.”

Downing Street has said the number of hospital admissions and deaths are still “substantially lower” than they were earlier in the year.

A Number 10 spokesman added: “Our focus remains on ensuring we get boosters out to those who are eligible.”

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

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