Health Secretary Sajid Javid has addressed reporters today in the first government Covid press conference in over a month.

His update came amid rising case numbers and deaths, with daily case numbers now above 40,000 for the seventh day in a row.

During the press conference, in which he was joined by Stephen Powys, medical director of the NHS & Jennie Harries, chief executive of the new UK Health Security Agency, Mr Javid gave a number of updates on the nation’s fight against covid, and what measures the government will be taking in the coming months.

READ MORE:What is the Government's Covid plan B and how likely is it to be introduced

The health secretary urged people to continue doing everything they can to prevent the spread of covid, but ruled out the introduction of further measures at this point.

Mr Javid said: “The other big thing everyone can do more of is to take advantage of that offer of a free lateral flow test.

“Because where we've seen that people are, if they're going to a party perhaps that has relatives there that are elderly there or grandparents, someone who's immunocompromised, then it's really important that you take a lateral flow test.

“That makes that party or what you're doing - you can still go ahead with it - but it makes that a lot safer.”

Mr Javid also claimed that covid-related deaths remain “mercifully low”, despite the number of fatalities in the last 24-hour period hitting 179.

Following this, here are all the other key points from today’s No.10 Covid briefing.

New antiviral treatments

As we reported earlier, the government has confirmed that they have procured two different antiviral treatments for Coronavirus, with hopes that they will be able to be in use by the end of the year.

Thousands of vulnerable people could be able to take the treatments this winter, with them being effective for people who have recently tested positive or are beginning to show symptoms.

The new treatments are:

Molnupiravir - from company Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD), of which the government has secured 480,000 courses. It has proven in clinical trials to reduce the risk of hospitalisation or death for at-risk non-hospitalised adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 by 50%; and

PF-07321332/ritonavir - from company Pfizer, of which the government has secured 250,000 courses. Three-phase 2/3 trials are currently underway.

Cases will continue to rise

In a sombre estimation, the Health Secretary suggested that daily covid case numbers could continue to rise until hitting 100k every 24 hours.

Mr Javid said: “just as we expected were starting to see this impact and yesterday, we reported 43,738 new cases across the UK, up 16% from the previous week,

“it could go yet as high as 100,000… We are also seeing greater pressure on the NHS. I would like to thank everyone who is working so hard to keep us safe.

“We don’t allow the NHS to become overwhelmed.”

No Plan B for now

The government has no intention to introduce their ‘plan B’ restrictions at this moment in time, and are instead urging the public to do all they can to ensure case numbers are as low as possible in a bid to prevent restrictions.

Mr Javid said: "We must all remember that this virus will be with us for the long term and that it remains a threat to the progress that we've made in getting our nation closer to normal life

"We're looking closely at the data and we won't be implementing our Plan B of contingency measures at this point but will be staying vigilant preparing for all eventualities while strengthening our vital defences that can help us fight back against this virus."

Mr Javid also urged people to continue wearing face masks in communal areas but refused to suggest it should be reintroduced as a legal requirement.

When asked why MP's were not following this guidance in the House's of Parliament, Mr Javid said this was a "a very fair point" and added, "we’ve all got our role to play in this."

An urge to take up booster jabs

Both the Health Secretary and his scientific advisors urged everyone who is eligible to get their booster jabs as soon as possible.

Currently, anyone aged over 50 over who is immunocompromised can receive a booster vaccination 6 months after getting their second jab.

Mr Javid also urged everyone who has yet to receive any vaccination to take up the opportunity to do so.

He said: "there are almost 5 million people over the age of 16 that remain unvaccinated in the UK.

"It might be someone you know: a friend, a family member, a colleague, and if you do tell them.

"It's never too late to come forward so if you yet haven't had your job please take this huge step to protect yourself and to protect your loved ones.

"We've got the jabs, we just need the arms to put them in."