The health secretary has refused to rule out local lockdowns when asked in a statement to the House of Commons today.

Sajid Javid spoke in the Commons today to set out the government's plan to deal with coronavirus over the coming autumn and winter ­— what he called 'Plan A'.

He did also outline a 'Plan B' of contingency measures if Covid cases, hospitalisations, and deaths rose, including working from home and face coverings.

“Any responsible government must prepare for all eventualities, and although these measures are not an outcome anyone wants, it’s one we need to be ready for just in case,” he said.

Mr Javid also said test and trace, regular asymptomatic testing and support for those self-isolating and eligible will continue.

In response to the statement, shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth asked what level of Covid-19 infections would be needed to trigger more restrictions this winter.

In a question to the health secretary, Sajid Javid, he said: “Infection levels today are actually higher than they were at this time last year, so the test of his Plan A and his Plan B is whether we can push infections down, minimise sickness and save lives, keep schools open, protect care homes maintain access to all care in the national health service and avoid a winter lockdown.

“He has talked about a Plan B, can he tell us what level of infection and hospitalisations does he think would trigger Plan B?”

Mr Ashworth also called on the Government to rule out local lockdowns.

He said: “Yesterday Downing Street briefed about lockdown as a last resort, what then, if I may put it like this, is first resort in combatting the virus to avoid a winter lockdown?

“Will he rule out today local and regional lockdowns like we saw in my city of Leicester, or in Bolton and parts of West Yorkshire, last year?"

Mr Javid addressed a number of the questions asked by Mr Ashworth, however, he did not rule out lockdowns, local or otherwise.

On 'Plan B' he said: "I think he is right the government has a contingency plan and that trigger for Plan B will be to look carefully at the pressures on the NHS and if at any point we deem them to be unsustainable, a significant rise in hospitalisations, then we would look carefully if we need to take any of those Plan B measures.

"They will be informed by the data. We will come to the House at the time and take the appropriate response.

"It is really important to emphasise the importance of vaccines. We know from the data that in the first half of this year 99 per cent of those people that died from Covid-19 were sadly not vaccinated."

The health secretary also said the flu risk this year is “really significant”.

He told the Commons: “Really significant risk, not least because for reasons that we are all familiar with, there wasn’t much flu last year.

“There is a lot less natural immunity around in our communities and the flu vaccine itself, the flu vaccine not just in the UK but being deployed across Europe, has less efficacy than normal but it is still effective. It is still a very worthwhile vaccine and that’s why we will be trying to maximise uptake.

“As I said, the biggest rollout programme and communication programme this country has ever seen for the flu vaccine.”