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Coronavirus

UK Health Minister Javid says no ‘plan B’ needed yet, confirms racial bias probe

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There’s no need yet for the UK to implement “Plan B to clamp down on Covid infection levels,” said Health Minister Sajid Javid.

Separately, Javid confirmed a Times report on Sunday that the UK has begun a review into possible racial bias in certain medical equipment.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

Javid spoke on Sky News on Sunday, one of at least three planned media interviews for the day.

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He said expanding the UK’s vaccine booster program is the key to a successful Christmas season without new restrictions.

The comments came as parts of Europe are taking drastic action against rising COVID-19 cases, including a national lockdown in Austria to start on Monday.

Over 14 million have had a booster across the UK so far, and people between the ages of 40 and 49 will be able to book Covid booster shots from Monday.

“Getting your COVID-19 booster vaccine is the best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe this winter and will help to reduce the pressure on the National Health Service,” Javid said in a statement overnight.

UK cases have remained high for several months, but overall hospitalizations and ICU occupancy have not risen as much.

The Times reported on Sunday that Javid has begun a review into possible racial bias in medical equipment, and how it may have slanted treatment for COVID-19.

The move comes after research showing that oximeters, devices that measure oxygen levels in the blood, are less accurate on patients with darker skin.

Read more: Dutch police arrest more than 30 amid ongoing unrest against COVID-19 curbs