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World Hancock 'does not rule out' another national lockdown

11:50  04 january  2021
11:50  04 january  2021 Source:   news.sky.com

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The UK health secretary has admitted that measures previously in force under ‘Tier 3’ are no longer sufficient to contain the new strain of the virus as he failed to rule out another national lockdown amid soaring infection rates. Speaking on Monday morning, British health secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News that the government is not “ ruling anything out ” amid calls from the opposition leader, Keir Starmer, to introduce a national lockdown within 24 hours. “This new variant is much easier to catch, it is much more transmissible, and we’re now seeing the effect of that in lots of different parts of the

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has refused to rule out another national lockdown amid concerns the new variant coronavirus is spreading out of control. Mr Hancock hailed the start of the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine as an 82-year-old former maintenance manager became the first person to receive the jab outside of clinical trials. He said the NHS had the capacity to deliver two million doses a week of the vaccine once it received supplies from the manufacturers. But with the latest data showing a 33% rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus patients in hospital in England between Christmas

The health secretary has not ruled out the prospect of another national lockdown - and said whether Tier 4 restrictions work is "down to people's behaviour".

Asked if the government could take further measures to try and curb the spread of COVID-19, Matt Hancock told Sky News: "We don't rule anything out."

Live coronavirus updates from the UK and around the world

He said areas in Tier 3 were seeing sharp rises in coronavirus cases, a hint that those parts of the country not already in Tier 4 could be moved up to the highest level of restrictions in the near future.

a clock tower lit up at night: With cases continuing to rise, there are growing calls for the government to act further © Reuters With cases continuing to rise, there are growing calls for the government to act further

"This new variant is much easier to catch, it is much more transmissible, and we're now seeing the effect of that in lots of different parts of the country, unfortunately," the health secretary said.

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Hancock warns of second UK lockdown if public fail to follow Covid-19 rules . Updated / Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 14:16. "If everybody follows the rules - and we will be increasingly stringent on the people who are not following the rules - then we can avoid further national lockdowns . "But we of course have to be prepared to take action if that's what's necessary." During a round of broadcast interviews, Mr Hancock said the Government had taken the decision to impose a legal duty on people to self-isolate if instructed as the data showed some were failing to do so.

Matt Hancock was unable to rule out an extension to the lockdown as a health chief warned the tiered system that ministers want England to return to may have to be strengthened. The Health Secretary said it was “too early for us to know” whether coronavirus cases will be brought down sufficiently to Mr Hancock said “great advances in medical science are coming to the rescue”, but admitted the UK had only secured five million doses of Moderna’s jab. “While there is much uncertainty, we can see the candle of hope and we must do all that we can to nurture its flame,” he said. “But we’re not there yet.

"And it means that whereas the old Tier 3 was able to contain the old variant, that is proving increasingly difficult in all parts of the country."

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Asked if Tier 4 restrictions work in keeping the virus under control, Mr Hancock said: "It is down to people's behaviour, frankly. What matters is, yes of course, the rules that we put in place, but it is also about how people act.

"And frankly what I would say is this: it is critical that everybody in the country does all that they can to reduce the spread of the virus."

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Matt Hancock has refused to rule out a second national lockdown , saying the Government will do ‘whatever is necessary’ to protect the country. The health secretary said a national lockdown is ‘the last line of defence’ in the battle against coronavirus on Friday, as rumours of another shutdown loom . A two-week lockdown over half-term ‘could be announced in the next week’ after top scientists warned ministers of a ‘significant number of deaths’ by the end of October if no action is taken, reports claim. Speaking this morning, Mr Hancock said the Government did not want a second national shutdown

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock does not rule out another national lockdown to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus in the United Kingdom, but says that is “the last line of defense.” “We will do what is necessary to keep people safe,” he told Sky News in an interview early on Friday, when asked if a second national lockdown was being considered. Hancock explained that a national lockdown would be the last in a list of measures the government has at its disposable to slow down the spread of the virus.

Gallery: Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak around the world (Photo Services) 

With the emergence of new variants of COVID-19 - first identified in the UK and South Africa - and daily cases regularly surpassing 50,000, there are growing calls for Boris Johnson to act further.

The prime minister has made clear he is considering that, saying in a BBC interview on Sunday: "It may be that we need to do things in the next few weeks that may be tougher. I'm fully reconciled to that. I think the whole country is fully reconciled to that."

That same day, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the government must impose a national lockdown within 24 hours because the virus is "clearly out of control".

Sir David King, a former chief scientific adviser to the government, told Sky News that ministers should not wait to introduce a national lockdown.

A general view of a semi deserted Piccadilly Circus. Under tier four restrictions, pubs and restaurants will close, as well as non-essential retail. © (Photo by Pietro Recchia/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) A general view of a semi deserted Piccadilly Circus. Under tier four restrictions, pubs and restaurants will close, as well as non-essential retail.

"We don't have to wait and watch as the new variant of the disease spreads in other parts of the country. We have to see a national lockdown now."

Sir David also said that ministers should "look very carefully" at the return of pupils to schools.

"The impact on teachers and other workers in the schools and on parents [of catching the virus] is bad. It causes an impact in the spreading rate of the disease."

Sky's political correspondent Tom Rayner said the health secretary had put a "bit more flesh on the bones" of what the PM said.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock updates MPs in the House of Commons, London, on the latest situation with the Coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Wire/PA Images Health Secretary Matt Hancock updates MPs in the House of Commons, London, on the latest situation with the Coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images)

"What Matt Hancock said is he pointed directly to Tier 3 areas seeing steep rises, which would imply that the thing in terms of the first approach the government is looking at is whether or not more areas need to move to Tier 4," Rayner said.

"He also, I thought interestingly, when pushed on whether or not we are in a situation where Tier 4 isn't enough, he said it's about people's behaviour. He said it's critical for everyone to follow the rules and described it as a 'massive national effort'.

"What I take from that is that the government is hoping that through a combination of moving more areas into Tier 4 and increasing compliance, is that via more enforcement or different messaging, that that is the approach as things stand."

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Stay alert to stop coronavirus spreading - here is the latest government guidance. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.

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usr: 1
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