World news – Matt Hancock says second national lockdown ‘on the table’

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock this morning said a second national lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus remains ‘on the table’.

His comments come as 10million people across the country are now under some form of restriction.

The number of cases is rising rapidly and experts say that will be followed by a rise in hospitalizations and then a rise in deaths.

But bringing in another national lockdown would be “the last line of defence”, Mr Hancock has said.

Asked about the possibility of a two-week imposition of national restrictions to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, Mr Hancock told Sky News: “A national lockdown is the last line of defence and we want to use local action.”

Pressed on the possibility of a national lockdown, Mr Hancock said: “It isn’t something that we ever take off the table, but it isn’t something that we want to see either.

“The country once again needs to come together and recognise there is a serious challenge. That the virus is accelerating.

“Unfortunately, it isn’t just cases increasing, it’s also the number of people ending up in hospital increasing.”

Pressed again on whether a national lockdown was looming, Matt Hancock said: “We will do what is necessary to keep people safe.

Mr Hancock said: “The contact tracing system, which is working very well, that is the second line of defence.

“And, I don’t want to see that. But we will do whatever is necessary to keep people safe in a very difficult pandemic.”

The Government yesterday announced that the North East of England is the latest area to go into ‘local lockdown’ with a ban on mixing households and a 10pm pub curfew.

A national curfew is said to be under consideration along with shielding for 4.5million people and tough new rules on visiting care homes will be announced today.

Professor Chris Whitty, the Government’s chief adviser on coronavirus, is said to have called for a two-week national lockdown.

Asked how close a new national lockdown could be, Mr Hancock said: “We keep all of these things under review.”

On Covid tests, the Health Secretary said: “This week over 200,000 a day are being done.”

Mr Hancock warned it was “absolutely critical” that people continued to follow the basic rules with regard to coronavirus.

“We have seen an acceleration in the number of cases over the last couple of weeks and we’ve also sadly seen that the number of people hospitalised with coronavirus is doubling about every eight days, so we do need to take action,” he told BBC Breakfast.

“It is absolutely critical that people follow these rules, follow the rule of six, follow local restrictions if you have them in your area.

“If we do all these things then we can avoid having to take serious further measures.

“A further national lockdown is the last line of defence and the first line of defence is all of us doing ‘hands face and space’ and the basics.

“We all know the rules now and we know the basics, the rule of six is super simple to make it as easy as possible to follow and that’s what we’ve all got to do to try to get through this and get this back under control.”

The Health Secretary added that the Government was monitoring the rising number of cases “vigilantly” before any serious action was taken.

“We now have far more tools at our disposal to make more targeted interventions,” he said.

“The national lockdown is the last line of defence, as we saw in the spring that is something we can do to keep people safe if that’s needed.

“We’re watching vigilantly but we can see the number of cases accelerating and we’re prepared to do what it takes both to protect lives and to protect livelihoods.”


SOURCE: https://www.w24news.com

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