Sajid Javid will hold a press conference later today, Downing Street has confirmed.

The Health Secretary will speak from 5pm on Wednesday as the government face increasing pressure amid a concerning rise in coronavirus cases ahead of the winter months.

The press conference will be broadcast on all major news channels as well as being livestreamed on social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Here are five things he is expected to discuss.

Keeping a ‘close eye’ on new Delta variant

The Northern Echo: Downing Street keeping a "close eye" on new Covid Delta variant. (PA)Downing Street keeping a "close eye" on new Covid Delta variant. (PA)

The government is reportedly keeping a “close eye” on a descendant of the Covid Delta variant that is being seen in a growing number of cases sparking fears of a return to coronavirus restrictions.

Downing street said was monitoring the AY4.2 variant, but insisted there was no evidence it spreads more easily.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “It’s something we’re keeping a very close eye on.

“There’s no evidence to suggest that this variant … the AY4.2 one … is more easily spread.

“There’s no evidence for that, but as you would expect we’re monitoring it closely and won’t hesitate to take action if necessary.”

NHS calls to enact Covid plan B

An NHS leader has desperately pleaded with ministers to immediately enforce “Plan B” Covid restrictions or “risk stumbling into a winter crisis”.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, has urged the Government to implement the back-up strategy which involves measures including bringing back mandatory face coverings in public places.

Fears are growing that Covid Plan B restrictions could return during the winter as Downing street warned of a “challenging” months ahead as coronavirus cases reached the highest daily level since mid-July.

Boris Johnson outlined a Covid Plan B at a press conference last month but confirmed there were no current plans to reintroduce restrictions as hospitalisations reached 900 on Monday.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We obviously keep very close watch on the latest statistics.

“We always knew the coming months would be challenging.

“What we are seeing is case rates, hospitalisations and deaths still broadly in line with the modelling as set out a few months back now.

“The vaccination programme will continue to be our first line of defence, along with new treatments, testing and public health advice.

“But we will obviously keep a close watch on cases.

“But it is thanks to our vaccination programme that we are able to substantially break the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths.”

Outline what would happen if Plan B is activated

The Government’s autumn and winter plan suggested that some measures including the mandatory use of vaccine passports and face coverings could be required in England if cases were putting unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

Should Plan B materialise in the coming months, what would it look like?

Key restrictions to be reintroduced would be face masks, working from home and Covid vaccine passports.

The Plan B proposals draw on the findings of a review into vaccine passports earlier this year, which concluded that certification could help keep events going and businesses open.

Update on coronavirus cases as numbers rise

Coronavirus deaths in the UK have risen to their highest daily level since early March, while cases are at their highest for almost three months.

The latest figures, published on Tuesday, come as a leading scientific advisor warned it is “critical” that the Covid-19 booster programme is accelerated.

On Tuesday, the Government said a further 223 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the UK total to 138,852.

While the numbers are often higher on Tuesdays because of a lag in reporting deaths and cases over the weekend, this is the highest figure for daily reported deaths since March 9.

Meanwhile, the seven-day average for cases is standing at 44,145 cases per day – the highest level for almost three months.

The UK now has one of the highest weekly rates of new reported cases in the world.

Tough winter ahead

Sajid Javid warned the NHS is facing a “particularly tough” winter and there are “shortages” of staff to respond to 999 and 111 calls.

The Health Secretary is expected to reiterate this message during his press conference.

Mr Javid insisted a winter plan developed with NHS officials will be unveiled in the next couple of weeks before he defended the jab rollout, amid concerns over a lack of uptake from youngsters.