Good morning. Sajid Javid, the new health secretary, has been doing the morning interview round and he has given more details of how Covid case numbers are expected to go up after 19 July, when almost all the remaining restrictions for England are due to be relaxed. Yesterday Boris Johnson said cases could reach 50,000 a day within a fortnight. Today Javid went further. Here are the main points from his interviews.
- Javid said cases could reach 100,000 a day by the summer. He told the Today programme:
By the time we get to the 19th, we would expect case numbers by then to be at least double what they are now, so around 50,000 new cases a day. As we ease and go into the summer, we expect them to rise significantly and they could go as high as 100,000 case numbers.
We want to be very straightforward about this, about what we can expect in terms of case numbers. But what matters more than anything is hospitalisation and death numbers, and that is where the link has been severely weakened.
- But he said the proportion of cases leading to people being hospitalised was just a thirtieth of what it was earlier in the pandemic. He said:
What we have seen is a severe weakening in the link [between cases and hospitalisations]. The link hasn’t broken and no one is pretending it has; there isn’t enough evidence for that yet. But what we have seen is a very severe weakening.
And just to put a number on that – at the moment we are seeing around 25,000 new cases a day. The last time was saw numbers like that we sadly had deaths of around 500 a day. And now we are at about one-thirtieth of that.
And that is because [of] the impact of the vaccine, number one, but also the impact of the treatments; the treatments that we have today are far better than when this pandemic began.
- He rejected suggestions that the government had a figure in mind for what it considered an acceptable level of deaths. “It’s not about some number of deaths being acceptable, of course not,” he told Sky News, when this question was put to him.
- He said that plans to change self-isolation rules for people who have been in contact with someone testing positive would be announced today. He told BBC Breakfast:
We will have a more proportionate system of test, trace and isolate, and it is absolutely right that those that have been double-jabbed that we can take a different approach than the one we take today. In terms of what we will be doing exactly, you will have to wait for my statement to parliament later today.
The government is expected to say that daily testing can replace isolation for people who are fully vaccinated. According to the Commons order paper, Jo Churchill will be making a Commons statement, not Javid, but that could change.
- Javid said that he would continue to wear a mask after 19 July in some circumstances. He said:
For the foreseeable future I will be carrying a face mask with me, I think that’s a very responsible thing for anyone to do.
As I have said, the pandemic is not over.
If I’m in a crowded or enclosed space, I will wear a face mask. In fact I will wear one if I was next to someone or near someone that felt uncomfortable with others not wearing face masks.
And that’s what I mean by personal responsibility.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: Boris Johnson chairs cabinet.
9.30am: The ONS publishes its weekly death figures for England and Wales.
9.30am: Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, and Jamie Driscoll, the North of Tyne mayor, give evidence to the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee on devolution.
10.45am: George Eustice, the environment secretary, gives evidence to the Lords environment and climate change committee.
11am: The Office for Budget Responsibility publishes a report on fiscal risk.
12pm: Downing Street is due to hold its daily lobby briefing.
12.30pm: Sajid Javid, the health secretary, makes a statement to MPs on Covid.
Around 1.30pm: Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, makes a statement to MPs on Covid and schools.
2.05pm: Prof Chris Whitty, the government’s chief medical adviser, gives a speech to the Local Government Association virtual conference.
2.30pm: Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, gives evidence to the Commons foreign affairs committee.
Politics Live has been a mix of Covid and non-Covid news recently and that will probably be the case today. For more coronavirus developments, do follow our global Covid live blog.
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