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Matt Hancock says lockdown will be in place as long as required

Matt Hancock said that it was “impossible to know” when restrictions will be relaxed.

Matt Hancock lockdown
Matt Hancock lockdown

The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has said that the Covid lockdown restrictions will stay in place in England for as “long as they are necessary”.

Matt Hancock interviewed on lockdown

In an interview with Sky News, Matt Hancock said that it was “impossible to know” when restrictions will be relaxed, adding:

“We will keep the restrictions in place not a moment longer than they are necessary, but we will keep them in place as long as they are necessary.

These measures that we have got in place that we hope to be able to lift, and we should be able to lift when we have been able to protect through vaccination those who are vulnerable – right now the vaccination is not in a position to do that.”

With regards to the vaccination programme the Health Secretary stated that it was “on track” to administer the vaccine to the 14 million most vulnerable people by February 15.

The most up-to-date NHS statistics reveal that 2,431,648 people in the UK have received a first dose of a Covid vaccine, but London’s councils and Mayor Sadiq Khan have called on the Government to accelerate its vaccine programme in the capital.

Some patients at King’s College Hospital may be sent to hotels to free up beds for Covid cases. When asked about the proposal, Matt Hancock said: “There are huge pressures on the NHS and we are looking to all different ways that we can relieve those pressures. We would only ever do that if it was clinically the right thing for somebody. In some cases, people need sit-down care, they don’t actually need to be in hospital bed. It isn’t a concrete proposal by any means but it is something that we look at as we look at all contingencies.”

In an appearance on BBC Breakfast he said: “We brought in this national lockdown, the rules are really simple, which is to stay at home unless you absolutely have to leave. We know that this can work because we know that the only way that the virus spreads is when people meet each other, or on surfaces. So, we can all play a part in making this happen – I know I must sound like a broken record on that but it’s so important. Together we can make this the peak if enough people follow the rules, which are incredibly clear.”

Asked about whether if this was the peak, he said: “Well, we don’t know, we published the data every day. I hope that it is. But we watch it like a hawk. Everybody watching this programme, we could all do our bit. Every time that you think, ‘should I do that, should I go out for this reason, should I meet up with this person?’ it’s those individual decisions all together that determine whether this virus continues to spread and continues to increase its spread.

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