MATT Hancock has today refused to rule out another national lockdown in England as he admitted he was “very worried” about the second new South African strain of the virus.
The Health Secretary said earlier that nothing was off the table as the Government mull new measures to try and crack down on the case numbers – which have reached record highs in the past week.
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Labour’s boss, Sir Keir Starmer, has demanded fresh restrictions within 24 hours – including a return to the Stay at Home message for everyone – a
“Bring in those national restrictions now, that has to be the first step to control the virus.”
The PM has vowed to do “whatever it takes” to tackle the spread – which spreads far more quickly than the old one.
And Mr Hancock was asked today: “In terms of the national lockdown called for, that isn’t within the Government thinking right now, is it?”
Mr Hancock replied: “Well we don’t rule anything out.
“We have shown repeatedly we will look at the public health advice and will take [it[ in terms of what is needed to contorl the spread of the disease.
“This new variant is much easier to catch.
“The old Tier 3 was able to contain the old variant, that is proving increasingly difficult in all parts of the country.”
He told Sky News: “Some of the Tier 3 areas are seeing sharp rises in cases.
“Each week we look at all the areas of the country to check they are in the right Tier.
“It’s a very difficult situation.”
But he said the arrival of the Oxford AstraZeneca jab this morning was “pivotal” and was “very good news”.
He said it was “down to people’s behaviour” whether Tier 4 was working or not.
“It is critical that everybody in the country does everything they can do to reduce the spread of the virus.”