Matt Hancock refuses to rule out England lockdown extension

17 November 2020, 10:05

Polly Foreman

By Polly Foreman

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the Health Secretary said it's too early to say whether lockdown will be extended.

Matt Hancock has refused to rule out the possibility that the England lockdown could be extended past 2 December, amid fears that restrictions could be in place over Christmas.

Read more: Boris Johnson forced to self-isolate again as he says 'rules are rules'

Speaking at a press conference from No10 Downing Street yesterday, the Health Secretary said that it was "too early for us to know" whether cases will have come down sufficiently to ease the lockdown.

He hinted that data available next week would be crucial, as cases should start to fall if "lockdown is working".

Mr Hancock said it's too early to know whether we will be able to end lockdown on 2 December
Mr Hancock said it's too early to know whether we will be able to end lockdown on 2 December. Picture: PA

Mr Hancock said: "It is too early for us to know what the number of cases will be, as we come to the end of the current lockdown.

"At the moment most of the tests that we're getting back and most of the positive cases are from around the time when the lockdown came in.

"It's too early to expect to see in the data the impact of the second lockdown, but we absolutely hope to be able to replace the national lockdown with a tiered system."

When announcing the second lockdown earlier this month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the country would returned to the tiered system of lockdown measures on December 2.

Read more: Boris Johnson says second lockdown will end on December 2 amid fears of an extension

The three-tier system was made up of tier 1 (lowest level of restrictions - including rule of six and 10pm curfew), tier 2 (including a ban of households mixing indoors), and tier 3 (including pubs being asked to shut).

Matt Hancock held a press conference at No10 yesterday
Matt Hancock held a press conference at No10 yesterday. Picture: PA

There have been reports that a fourth tier could be added in December, that would see tougher restrictions imposed in that area.

Speaking yesterday, Public Health England boss Dr Susan Hopkins warned that a tougher system may need to be in place if it were re-introduced.

She said: "We see very little effect from Tier 1.

"When we look at what the Tiers may be in the future, we will have to think about strengthening them in order to get us through the winter months until the vaccine is available for everyone."

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