Future lockdown can't be ruled out due to Covid variant concern, Health Secretary warns

By Ben Reid

A future Covid lockdown cannot be ruled out, the government's health secretary has urged.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has warned that a variant could break through the protection currently offered against Covid by the vaccine.

He said no Government could rule out a lockdown given the risk that a variant could eventually break through the vaccine barrier.

Mr Javid warned that could come at any time - even next year, or the year after.

And he explained how the Government had to be prepared for the possibility that a new variant could emerge which could evade the vaccines.

“No one wants to see another lockdown, I certainly don’t. I don’t think we are going to need to see another lockdown. I think the vaccines are working,” he told BBC Breakfast.

“But I think it would be irresponsible for any health minister in the world to say that this or that is 100% ruled out, not least because I just don’t know whether at some time in the future – next year, the year after, the year after that – there might be a vaccine escape variant that doesn’t work with the current suite of vaccines.

“We always have to be vigilant but we have made huge gains in the last few months. We have done those together as a country and the plan yesterday we set out is a plan that will help protect those gains.”

Pressures on A&E and increasing hospital admissions are the factors that could trigger the Government’s Plan B for tacking Covid, the Health Secretary has said.

Sajid Javid defended not bringing in more stringent measures now, as set out in the Government’s winter plan for tacking the virus, saying Covid vaccines, boosters and new treatments offered “a very strong” package of tools at present.

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