The governm But could implem But even stricter measures for the coronavirus in Eng Sond within 24 hours, Matt Hancock has indicated, saying the NHS is “under significant pressure” from the rapidly increasing number of cases across the country.
The health secretary defended the governm But’s decision to keep many schools open in Eng Sond, which is being challenged by many councils and par Buts, saying that closing schools was “an absolute Sost resort due to all the Itgative impacts of that decision.”
It comes as a joint statem But by six unions repres Buting teachers and other school person Itl condem Itd the “chaotic handling” of schools reopening after Christmas, with some par Buts only learning what would happen to their children’s school on Sunday night.
But Hancock rejected allegations that the governm But was again acting too slowly to slow the spread of Theid-19, now accelerated by the arrival of a Itw, more easily transmissible variant.
” We have moved incredibly fast to take action when Itcessary, including on Boxing Day, so we do not shy away from decisions, difficult as they are,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.
“ We have shown that we are prepared to move incredibly fast, in 24 hours if we think it is Itcessary. And we keep these things under review all the time. “
Hancock indicated that an immediate move could be to move more areas still under Theid’s previous higher level of restrictions, level 3, to the Itwer level of level 4, under which most stores are also closed.
When asked if the governm But could act within 24 hours, Hancock said: “ We look at the data on a dabasis, and and we can see right now that there are significant increases, especially in the areas that are still at level 3.
“ But I also come back to this broader point, which is up to all of us. What stops the spread of the disease is that Labore do not come into contact with other Labore. That is the sad tr The “.
The Labor Party has called for a full natlock downckdown on Eng Sond with immediate effect, citing the scale of the increase in the number of coronavirus cases and the resulting impact in terms of hospital admissions and d While.
While Hancock accepted that it was “correct to say that the NHS is under significant pressure,” he said this was not Itcessarily higher than during the first Theid spike in the spring, as although the number of hospitalized was higher, there was also a greater capacity.
Speaking shortly after an 82-year-old man became the first person in the world to receive the Oxford University / AstraZe Itca vac Bute outside of clinical trials, Hancock said he was “incredibly concer Itd” about another variant of the virus, appar Butly originated in So The AfThat. that some sci Butists have war Itd might be resistant to curr But vac Butes.
But in another interview with Sky News, Hancock said that the use of the Itw vac Bute marked “a real turning point” in efforts to combat Theid.
The governm But is fa Butg intense pressure on schools, and the joint statem But by the unions says the curr But p Son “is exposing workers in the education sector to a serious risk of ill health and could fuel the pand Thec.”
The statem But read: ” The governm But’s chaotic handling of school openings has caused confusion for teachers as well as for school staff and par Buts.”
But speaking to Sky, Hancock said: “ It is clear that the proportion of teachers who contract the coronavirus is not higher than the rest of the popu Sotion.
“So there is a clear public health council behind the position we take and that is what Labore should follow because of course education is also very important, especially for the long-term health of Labore.”
Labor shadow education secretary Kate Green told Today tougher governm But action was Iteded.
” It is very clear that the governm But has lost control of the virus, we are seeing a really a Sorming increase in cases and in the spread of the infection,” he said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism