Matt Hancock grilled by host on 'delay' in imposing national lockdown
As the rate of infection rises, Susanna Reid demanded answers from Matt Hancock over reports another national lockdown is imminent. Speaking on Good Morning Britain, the Health Secretary assured the host the government would “act quickly” to do all they can to suppress Covid-19 and the rising rates of infection, particularly in Tier 3 areas. Not satisfied with his responses, Reid demanded to know why the country not already under the strictest restrictions.
“Clearly the great challenge of the next couple of months is we’ve got to control the virus while we get this vaccine rolled out,” Hancock remarked.
“That’s been the strategy all along. It’s great news today, it’s great news, the vaccine is already injected into people’s arms. I’m so proud this British success is here.”
Piers Morgan pointed out: “You say the challenge is to control the virus, you’re lost control of this variant.”
Hancock hit back, explaining the new variant of the virus spreads much quicker, adding: “You need to come into contact with only a small amount.”
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Wanting to know what measures were in place to stop the new variant, Reid asked: “Tier 4 is not suppressing this virus, why are you not locking down?
“We known we can suppress this virus if we go into a national lockdown.”
“We had those measures calibrated against the old variant,” Hancock replied. “There are parts of the country where this is rising the fastest. We are prepared to take the sort of action…”
He was cut off as Morgan interrupted: “Why are you waiting? This reminds me of March when we waited until it was too late.
“You must share my horror of what is happening. We need a national lockdown. I don’t see any other way you will get a hold on it.”
Squirming, Hancock hit back: “It’s on all of us, ultimately the reason this virus gets from one person to another, that’s why staying apart and staying at home are so important.”
Exasperated, Morgan raged: “None of us want a national lockdown, it’s a horrible intrusion of all our liberties. However, at least with a national lockdown there is clarity.
“Everyone is in the same boat, everyone in the same boat, the rules applied the same. There was a concerted effort.
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“With this Tier system, no one understands the different rules. That encourages people disregarding the rules.
“A national lockdown, horrible though it is on the economy and other public issues, it’s the blunt instrument that works most effectively.”
Hancock repeated: “We are prepared to take he actions that’s necessary and rapidly. We moved within just over 24 hours to bring in Tier 4.
“We look at this data all the time. We publish all the data we also look at how much of the spread is the new variant.”
Reid sighed: “Go back to the figures, in Tier 4 in London, we still have a huge rate of infection. Surely a lockdown is something you inevitably have to bring in?”
“We are prepared to move quickly and prepared to take whatever action necessary,” Hancock replied.
“We look at the data all of the time and will take the action needed. At the moment, the faster rises are in Tier 3, if we need to move Tier 3 into Tier 4, we will.”
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays on ITV at 6am.
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