Sunday 24 January 2021 10:04 am

Matt Hancock: 'Long, long way' until England Covid lockdown is eased

Health secretary Matt Hancock has warned today that there is still a “long, long, way” until England’s current Covid lockdown is eased.

Hancock said today that “early evidence” indicated Covid cases were dropping thanks to the tough restrictions, while also adding that “we don’t know the answer” to how long the lockdown will last.

Read more: Covid: UK records a further 1,348 deaths as 5.9m vaccinated

He also did not rule out further restrictions if need be.

Speaking to Sky News, the health secretary said: “We should be worried enough, all of us, about this pandemic to follow the rules and it is just so important that people do.”

The UK recorded a further 1,348 deaths from coronavirus yesterday, which makes 8,739 in the past seven days – a 13.9 per cent week-on-week rise.

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Cases, however, are trending downward.

The UK has recorded 79, 858 cases in the past seven days – a 23.5 per cent week-on-week reduction.

When asked by the BBC when restrictions would be lifted, Hancock said: “We don’t know the answer to that question and it’s one of the many things we don’t know the answer to.

Read more: Flat-pack jabs: New London vaccine hub assembled at former Ikea store

“We know there is a risk the new variant is more deadly – unfortunately that is the result of the scientific analysis since it has been discovered.”

Almost 6m people have now received their first vaccine in the UK, with 468,000 of these people also receiving their second jab.