By Rachael Grealish
The Health Secretary has asked members of the public to ‘act like you have the virus’ as he reiterates the ‘stay at home’ message.
While speaking from Downing Street Matt Hancock told the nation today, Monday January 11, that although around 2.3 million people in the U.K. have had the COVID vaccine ‘we are at the worst point in the pandemic’.
“As we know, the new variant of the coronavirus is highly contagious, and is putting the NHS under very significant pressure,” he said.
“Yesterday 46,169 cases of coronavirus were recorded across the UK.”
Hancock has also revealed that there is 32,000 people in hospitals across the country and the figure was revealed 524 have died from the virus in the last 24 hours – testing positive for COVID within 28 days.
The rising cases has created speculation tougher lockdown rules will be implemented.
Addressing speculation of new tougher rules, Hancock said: “The NHS, more than ever before, needs everybody to be doing something right now – and that something is to follow the rules.
“I know there has been speculation about more restrictions, and we don’t rule out taking further action if it is needed, but it is your actions now that can make a difference.
“Stay at home, and please reduce all social contact that is not absolutely strictly necessary. That’s what is needed: act like you have the virus.”
But the question on all our minds was asked to the health minister: when will lockdown be lifted?
Unfortunately, Hancock couldn’t give a date.
However, he did say 88 percent of the deaths have occurred in people who are in the top four priority categories and all of these are to be offered a vaccine by February 15.
After this Hancock said he hopes deaths should start to decrease, but younger people in their 60s can also die from COVID-19, and they are a significant proportion of people in hospital – so they are being prioritised too.
Hancock confirmed they have knowledge the vaccine reduces your chances of getting the virus or dying from it, but said they don’t know what impact vaccination will have on transmission.
The Secretary explained 2.286 million people have received a COVID-19 vaccine first dose – this breaks down to 1.959 million people vaccinated with first dose in England, 163,377 in Scotland, 86,039 in Wales, 78,005 in Northern Ireland.
However, Professor Steven Powis, who was speaking alongside Hancock, stated: The vaccine is not a free pass to ignore national guidance.”
Of course, a question came up about the news Boris Johnson had been on a seven mile cycle ride as he was asked: “Can I go for a walk in the park with a friend, with a takeaway cup of coffee? If it is, why are people being fined for this? And is it okay to go seven miles for a cycle ride?”
He said members of the public can go and exercise with one other person, but only one other person.
He explained People should be two metres apart, but if too many people keep breaking this rule, ‘then we are going to have to look at it, but I don’t want to do that’ – emphasising the importance people do not ‘flex’ the rule.
The health minister ‘it is okay to go for a long walk, and end up seven miles from home, but you should stay local, you should not go from one part of the country to another’.