MATT Hancock held a press conference today to update the nation on the latest coronavirus data and the vaccine rollout.
The Health Secretary addressed the nation this afternoon (January 25), as Boris Johnson is under growing pressure to reopen schools in England.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock spoke at a coronavirus press conferenceCredit: Getty – Pool
What did the Health Secretary announce?
Mr Hancock gave the latest information on coronavirus infection numbers, and the death toll.
The Health Secretary announced that the overall rise in the number of coronavirus cases is falling, while vaccinations are increasing.
Mr Hancock said tonight 78.7% of over-80s have been vaccinated and new venues administering jabs are opening.
He added some 6.6 million people have received a jab, calling it a “truly national effort”.
Mr Hancock said: “There are early signs the actions we are taking are working.
“The rise in the number of cases is slowing and falling in some parts of the country like London and Scotland.”
He revealed that a whopping 2.5 million people were vaccinated across the UK last week at a rate of more than 250 a minute.
A masked Health Secretary Matt Hancock leaves his West London home on January 25 after self isolatingCredit: © 2021 Joshua Bratt
Mr Hancock also paid tribute to workers on the frontline and ambulance services saying the NHS is under intense pressure.
He added that receiving a jab is an “emotional” experience.
The Health Secretary also warned that there are still an average of 37,000+ cases every day in Britain meaning people can’t let up on following the rules.
Mr Hancock was joined by Dr Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officer, who warned Brits could have to wait until the weather heats up for the lockdown to be eased.
She said: “Some of you may have noticed the snow. Alongside all of this the NHS has to deal with increased rate of clinical admissions due to winter and cold weather.”
Mr Hancock suggested tougher border measures were on the horizon to stop new strains of the virus arriving from overseas.
Mr Hancock was joined by Dr Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officerCredit: PA:Press Association
He said: “It is reasonable to take a precautionary principle to protect the country while we work on the science and the analysis of the difference variants that are discovered around the world.”
On Sunday, January 24, Mr Hancock warned that we still have a “long, long way to go” before lockdown ends.
He also blasted influencers for jetting off on holiday to party during the coronavirus lockdown.
The Health Secretary slammed people breaking travel bans for “parties in Paris” and “weekends in Dubai” while the Government continued to urge people to stay at home.
Mr Hancock said the NHS remained under “enormous” pressure as cases continued to soar and fears mounted over newly-emerging mutant Covid strains.
Geordie Shore’s Chloe Ferry was one of many reality stars escaping UK lockdown in DubaiCredit: Instagram
The politician also spoke about Covid jabs.
He tweeted on Monday, January 25, that “we’re opening 32 new vaccination centres”.
He added: “I am so grateful to all NHS staff, volunteers and our armed forces doing so much to vaccinate so many so fast.”
Although top scientists and government ministers are reportedly keen to make this England’s last lockdown, they will not risk easing restrictions if lifting them too early could see the country plunged into a fourth shutdown, said The Times.
Mr Hancock also gave an update on Covid jabs
But, the Prime Minister did not say when schools in England could re-open.
He added: “Schools will obviously be a priority, but I don’t think anybody will want to see the restrictions lifted so quickly while the rate of infection is still very high.
“We’ve now got the ‘R’ down below one, across the whole of the country – that is a great achievement.”
PM Boris Johnson meets staff and patients at Barnet FC’s ground, The Hive, which is being used as a coronavirus vaccination centre, north LondonCredit: Reuters
The PM should consider tougher lockdown restrictions on the economy in order to allow schools to reopen, urged the chairman of the Commons Education Select Committee.
Tory MP Robert Halfon’s call for action to return pupils to schools comes amid unrest about the issue and the Government’s exit strategy from coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Johnson has said teachers and parents would be told “as much as we can as soon as we can”.
He’s also keen to bring in Australia and New Zealand-style quarantine hotels to keep mutant strains out of the country.