Matt Hancock warns the UK is at a ‘perilous moment’ in the fight against coronavirus and says lockdowns will be a part of life ‘until a vaccine can make us safe’
- Matt Hancock today warned UK is at a ‘perilous moment’ in fight against virus
- He said suppression of Covid-19 is required ‘until a vaccine can make us safe’
- He told NHS chiefs that ‘we can and we will get through this’ amid spike in cases
The Health Secretary told NHS chiefs that ‘we can and we will get through this’ as Covid-19 cases continue to surge across the nation.
But he struck a gloomy tone as he said ‘there will be more difficult times ahead’.
He said the Government’s strategy will remain trying to suppress the virus and to support the economy and NHS ‘until a vaccine can make us safe’.
Mr Hancock’s intervention came as the Government said that, as of 9am this morning there had been a further 17,540 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.
That brings the total number of cases in the UK to 561,815 as the Government also said that a further 77 people had died, taking the total death toll to 42,592.
Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies showed there had now been 58,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock today warned the UK is at a ‘perilous moment’ in the fight against coronavirus
Mr Hancock told the NHS Providers annual conference: ‘We are at a perilous moment in the course of this pandemic.
‘I am very worried about the growth in the number of cases, especially in the North West and the North East of England, parts of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and parts of Yorkshire.’
He added: ‘In parts of the country the situation is again becoming very serious.
‘Hospitalisations in the North West are doubling approximately every fortnight. They have risen by 57 per cent in just the last week alone.
‘Unfortunately we’re seeing hospitalisations in the over-60s rising sharply and the number of deaths from coronavirus also rising.’
The Government is widely expected to announce fresh curbs in Covid hotspot areas in England in the coming days, with the closure of pubs and other hospitality venues likely.
Mr Hancock today suggested that localised crackdowns will be a part of life until a working vaccine is found and can be rolled out on a mass scale.
He said: ‘We know from bitter experience that the more coronavirus spreads, the harder it is to do all the other vital work of the NHS too.’
He continued: ‘The message to the public must be that we all have a part to play to control this virus.
‘Our strategy is simple – suppress the virus, supporting the economy, education and the NHS until a vaccine can make us safe.’
Mr Hancock said his ‘message to everyone in the NHS is that we can and we will get through this’.
‘Sadly, there will be more difficult times ahead but we will get through this together,’ he added.