Matt Hancock refuses to rule out two week national lockdown amid Covid surge

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Matt Hancock is refusing to rule out the UK going back into a second national lockdown.

In an interview with Sky News on Friday morning, the Health Secretary said the Government would be making further announcements about reducing the spread of coronavirus "in the normal way" later in the day.

"What I would say is that we really do need to come together to tackle this once again," he said.

"We have got to take the necessary action to keep people safe number of people doubling.

"We will do what it takes to keep people safe, we will do what is necessary — lockdown is the last line of defence."

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Mr Hancock added: "I want to avoid a national lockdown."

When pressed on whether it's a possibility, he said it's always an option under consideration.

"It isn't something that we ever take off the table, but it isn't something that we want to see either," he said.

"The country once again needs to come together and recognise there is a serious challenge. That the virus is accelerating.

"Unfortunately, it isn't just cases increasing, it's also the number of people ending up in hospital increasing."

He added: "We keep all these things under review and we do not want a national lockdown.

"We do have to recognise that the number of cases are rising and we have to act."

The Health Secretary also defended the much-derided Test and Trace system after it came under criticism this week.

There are reports that a second national lockdown in October has been proposed by scientific advisers to the Government.

On Thursday Mr Hancock announced that areas in the North East of England would have new social distancing measures enforced from today an in effort to curb "concerning rates of infection".

This includes a ban on household mixing and a curfew on bars, pubs and restaurants between 10pm and 5am.

The affected areas are Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham.

There are also reports that Leeds and Lancashire will follow in the days to come.

If true, this would total 11 million people being placed under lockdown.

  • Coronavirus

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