It’s too early to say whether the June 21 lifting of restrictions will take place, Matt Hancock said.
The health secretary told MPs that on Wednesday there were 3,180 new cases of the coronavirus, which is “the highest since April 12,” but the vaccines were working. He said it was “too early now to say, again, if we can take full step 4 on June 21,” but added that he “desperately” wanted to.
Meanwhile, France has become the latest European country to announce restrictions on British travelers as they try to stop the spread of the Indian variant Covid.
Nothing in data derails June 21 reopening, says Downing Street
Downing Street said there was “still nothing in the data” to indicate that a further lift of the lockdown measures cannot be lifted on June 21.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: “What is vital is that we have to keep a very close eye on this over the next few days and weeks to come, on the data, as it relates to this. variant, because the key factors are things like the degree of transmissibility. is that it will inform the decisions that we have to make. “
PM says actions taken so far on roadmap have been good
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We are making decisions as quickly as possible, but we have to weigh the data.
“On what is happening now, we are quite satisfied that the actions we have taken so far on the roadmap have been good.
“I’m afraid we just have to wait a little longer to see what happens after the third stage on May 17th to see exactly what happens.”
It is sad “that we are seeing signs of an increase in cases”, especially of the worrying Indian variant B1617.2.
“But I want to stress that we always expected to see an increase in cases, it was always going to happen.
“What we need to understand is to what extent the immunization program is starting to make a real difference in breaking the link between infection and hospitalization and serious illness and death.”
Mr Johnson said the vaccines work against the “particularly two-dose” variant.
The PM defends the case of healthcare establishments
Responding to Dominic Cummings ‘claims that it was’ absurd ‘to say care homes were protected, Boris Johnson said:’ We have done everything we can to protect the NHS and to protect nursing homes as well. “
He added: “We invested an additional £ 1.4 billion in nursing home infection control, we put in a nursing home action plan, I remember vividly to make sure that we are trying to stop the infection between care homes.
“We remain very vigilant.”
Just under 4.9 million rapid Covid tests performed in England in the week to May 19
Just under 4.9 million lateral flow device (LFD) tests for Covid-19, or rapid tests, were performed in England in the week of May 19, according to the latest figures from Test and Trace – the fourth consecutive week that the number has decreased.
LFD tests are swab tests that give results in 30 minutes or less without requiring laboratory processing.
The number of LFD tests peaked at just over 7.6 million in the week of March 17, which coincided with high school students returning to school.
As of April 9, everyone in England has been eligible for rapid Covid-19 tests twice a week.
More than 14,000 people tested positive for Covid in England in the week through May 19
A total of 14,051 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in England at least once a week until May 19, according to the latest figures from Test and Trace.
This is broadly unchanged (down 0.2%) from the previous week, but up 5% the week to May 5.
Cummings’ claims are not proven until evidence is provided, says Jeremy Hunt
Conservative Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Jeremy Hunt said that until such evidence is provided “Dominic Cummings’ claims should be treated as unproven”.
He said: “At the joint committee hearing yesterday, serious allegations were made. We have requested that evidence be provided and until such evidence is provided these claims should be considered unproven.
“Until then, we are in the middle of a pandemic and we need the Secretary of Health to do his job with his usual energy and commitment.”
On the impact of the Indian variant on the June 21 opening date, he asked, “What additional steps can he take in the short term to ensure, in terms of surge testing, in terms of deployment of the? vaccine, in terms of improvements to Test and Trace, which we can really open as everyone wants on June 21? “
Mr Hancock replied: “It is true that the Indian variant is spreading across the country… My assessment is that it is too early now to say yet if we can complete the fourth full step on June 21st.
“Like him, I desperately want us to do it, but we’ll only do it if it’s safe.”
“We will do a formal assessment before June 14 to determine what step we can take for the 21 and as long as we are both data driven, we will be counseled and guided by science and we will be fully transparent both with this House and with the public in these decisions.
Hancock defends pandemic record
Matt Hancock also told MPs: “Since last January I have been to this House over 60 times. Together with the Prime Minister, we have organized 84 press conferences, I have answered 2,667 contributions to the House and answered questions from colleagues, the media and the public – and we will continue to maintain this spirit of openness and dedication. transparency throughout.
The Health Secretary added: “Sometimes what we have had to say has not been easy. We had to put ourselves on the same level as people when it was difficult, when things were going in the wrong direction.
“And also we have learned all along. We have applied this learning both to fight this pandemic and to make sure we are as prepared as possible for the future.
“Beyond all that, what matters remains the same: getting vaccinated, getting tested, delivered for our country, beating this disease and saving lives, and that is what matters to the British people.”
Every day I wonder what I should do to protect life, says Hancock
Matt Hancock added in the House of Commons: “Every day since I started working on the response to this pandemic last January, I got up every morning and asked, ‘What should I do to protect life?
“This is the job of the Secretary of Health in the event of a pandemic.
“We have taken an approach of openness, transparency and explanation of both what we know and what we don’t know.”
Matt Hancock denies Cummings allegations
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs Dominic Cummings’ “unsubstantiated allegations” “are not true”.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs: ‘These allegations which were made yesterday – and repeated by (Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth) – are serious allegations and I welcome the opportunity to come to the House to officially declare that these allegations honesty is not true.
“I have always been frank with people in public and in private.”
Whole cabinet got a dose of vaccine, says Zahawi
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said the entire Cabinet had now received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine after Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick received his vaccine on Thursday morning.
Mr Zahawi tweeted: “The youngest Cabinet member has now received his first vaccine. We have now vaccinated the entire Cabinet! Well done to the team.”
Mr Jenrick, 39, revealed on Twitter earlier in the morning that he had received a dose of Pfizer, adding: “Thank you NHS for incredible service.”