The minister told MPs that the Government had to “stay on top of” the virus as new strains emerge in the months and years ahead.
“It’s a reminder of the importance to stay vigilant but also to stay vaccinated,” he said.
“I think there likely will be a variant that will be trouble in the future.”
Last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he would not be extending his Plan B Covid measures – which mandated Covid passes for large events and made face masks in indoor spaces compulsory – beyond January 26.
He also said he was planning to remove further rules such as self-isolation for those infected with the virus this spring.
More to follow…