Matt Hancock claims this will be the last coronavirus lockdown
Matt Hancock has claimed this will be the last coronavirus lockdown.
The Health secretary today suggested vaccines against Covid meant the most severe restrictions currently in place would no longer be needed.
Speaking to MPs on the Commons health committee, the senior UK Government minister claimed the number of deaths would now finally begin to fall due to the at risk being vaccinated.
It came after Conservative MP Dean Russell asked the minister directly about any further lockdowns. He said: “Just looking ahead, to give a bit of relief both in terms of mental health and the light at the end of the tunnel, do you foresee this being the last of the lockdowns now that the vaccinations are being rolled out?”Mr Hancock nodded, answering: “I do. Yes.”
He also warned that the UK will “probably need to revaccinate” people to ensure the protection lasts, in a rollout that could happen every six months.
The West Suffolk MP said: I anticipate we will probably need to revaccinate because we don’t know the longevity of the protection from these vaccines.
“We don’t know how frequently it will be, but it might need to be every six months, it might need to be every year.”
His suggestion that lockdowns will cease flies in the face of the UK’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty, who warned earlier this week that restrictions may be needed until next winter.
Mr Hancock also claimed that vaccines and testing will remain a part of life well into 2022.
He explained: There is absolutely no doubt that vaccines and testing will still be a feature next year.
"We will need both the surveillance testing to be able to understand where the virus is and we will need testing for people who have symptoms, in the same way that you get tested for all sorts of other things."
Earlier today Nicola Sturgeon ordered Scots employers to "review their operations" – and warned a further lockdown of non-essential business may be needed to ease growing pressure on the NHS.
Food and drink takeaways, click and collect services, manufacturing and construction firms were yesterday served notice that unless their work is essential, they should consider closing down or have staff work from home.
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