No Tier 5 or national lockdown today, Matt Hancock confirms despite Covid surge
Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed on Good Morning Britain on Wednesday that the UK will not be plunged back into a national lockdown - after ruling out an even stricter Tier 5.
Just a day after Independent SAGE said England's Tier 4 restrictions aren't tough enough to control the mutant Covid-19 strain, Hancock confirmed more regions in England will be plunged into tougher restrictions.
After record numbers of daily coronavirus cases and hospitalisations, the Health Secretary revealed he planned to introduce more restrictions across the country - but ruled out a full lockdown like the one in March.
He will announce full details at 3pm in an announcement, but denied he'll be announcing a national lockdown, or a Tier 5.Read More Related Articles Read More Related Articles
Hancock told the GMB hosts when asked if more places would be moved into Tier 4: "Yes I am afraid I am going to have to, and I am going to set out those details to the House of Commons first."
While denying there would be a national lockdown, he said: "We're going to have to extend Tier 4 areas."
On Tuesday, a group of scientists warned England is entering its worst moment of the Covid-19 crisis and should immediately be plunged into a national lockdown.
Delaying another shutdown would result in "tens of thousands" of avoidable deaths and cause the NHS to "collapse" while allowing the new coronavirus variant to spread even further out of control, said Independent SAGE.
During GMB - moments before Hancock appeared live - the hosts spoke to three NHS staff members working on the front line to find out what was happening in hospitals, with the NHS groaning under the strain of so many acute Covid cases.
One nurse Rachel confirmed it was "worse" now in hospitals than it was during the first wave back in April.
She urged the public to stay at home to help stop the spread as things were "really bad", with staff facing "relentless" exhaustion.
Hosts Charlotte Hawkins and Sean Fletcher brought this up with the Health Secretary during the interview, as he discussed the new vaccine news as well as avoiding a national lockdown.
He said it was "necessary to take further action" but didn't detail which areas would be changing tiers.
Hancock went on: "All of us can carry and transmit this virus without even knowing about it.
"So we've all got to act a bit like we have got the virus and that way, we can all help stop the spread and that means stay at home unless you need to leave."
Hancock also advised: "We have these difficult winter months ahead of us and that’s why we’ve had to take very significant action.
"It’s been hugely disruptive to put parts of the country into Tier 4, this new variant of the disease is very significant, it can transmit much more quickly."
Also during the interview, Sean grilled Hancock over the wait to roll out the vaccine and asked if they could keep up with the amount available.
Hancock explained: "We have to spend a couple of days ensuring that the training for the specific requirements from the regulator is put in place.
"We have to physically get the vaccine out to the hospitals and the GP centres and the care homes, so we’ve got to physically move it round the country."
On getting to his target of two million doses a week, Hancock said: "The NHS would be able to deliver at that speed, yes, if that’s how fast it can be produced... I’m confident we’ll be able to vaccinate enough people by the Spring that we can start to lift some of these restrictions that are needed."
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.