Health

UK Coronavirus LIVE: Matt Hancock says UK ‘on home straight’ as vaccine rollout expands and Government looks at March lockdown end


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ealth Secretary Matt Hancock has said the UK is “nearly on the home straight” out of the pandemic as the vaccine rollout gathers pace.

But Government sources have “dismissed as speculation” reports that every adult in Britain could be vaccinated by the end of June. Other reports state the government is looking at relaxing lockdown restrictions in March.

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Lockdown restrictions ‘ could begin to be lifted as early as March’

A cabinet deal has been done to approve a three-point plan to begin lifting lockdown restrictions as soon as early March, according to the Sunday Times.

Areas will be put into lower tiers once their death rate has fallen, the number of hospital admissions drops and some in the 50- to 70-year-old age range are vaccinated, as this age group spends the most time in hospital with the virus, the paper reports.

Cabinet ministers said privately that they were prepared to resist pressure from members of the Sage advisory committee to delay tier changes until most people are vaccinated, a process that would take until the summer at least, it says.

Instead, ministers will begin drawing up a timetable for the end of lockdown at the end of this week once they see the first evidence of the effect of the latest national lockdown.

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Matt Hancock: ‘UK is nearly on the Home straight’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the UK is “nearly on the home straight” as 324,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines were administered in the space of 24 hours.

More than 3.5 million people in the UK have now received their first dose of a vaccine, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, as he hailed those helping the “fantastic national effort”.

Two vaccines have been rolled out in the UK, with a third – developed by Moderna – also approved for use.

Mr Hancock, writing in the Sunday Express, said: “We can see the way out of this pandemic. We are nearly on the home straight.

“After months of detailed preparations, rigorous scientific scrutiny and an extraordinary amount of patience, we are rolling out two highly effective vaccines, with a third coming in spring and others progressing through clinical trials.

“We’re rolling it out to as many vulnerable people as possible and we expect tens of millions of people to be vaccinated by the spring.”

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Hancock: ‘Everyone has part to play in national effort’

Ministers are urging the public to “play their part” in supporting the vaccination programme, such as by helping the elderly attend their appointments.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said people should also sign up to clinical trials for vaccines and treatments, and stay informed with accurate and trusted NHS advice.



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