Matt Hancock refused to extend the existing coronavirus lockdown amid fears it would drag on until Christmas.
The health secretary said it was “too early to know” whether coronavirus cases would be brought down sufficiently to ease the second shutdown on December 2.
Boris Johnson hopes the nation will return to local sanctions, but Dr Susan Hopkins of Public Health England – standing with Mr Hancock at a Downing Street press conference on Monday – said the previous measures had “little effect” at the lowest level.
Dr. Hopkins, who is advising the government’s Covid-19 response, said measures to “deliver to us during the winter months until the vaccine is available to everyone” need to be considered.
That goal of keeping the vaccine safe moved one step closer after initial data showed it was about 95% effective in protecting against the virus.
Scientists welcomed the “tremendously exciting” news that the tweak of the US firm Moderna could be very effective in protecting people from disease and working in all age groups, including the elderly.
Mr Hancock said “great advances in medical science are coming to the rescue”, but acknowledged that the UK had received only five million doses of modern jab.
“When there is a lot of uncertainty, we can see the candle of hope and we should make every effort to nurture its flame,” he said.
“But we are not there yet. We must remain vigilant and follow the rules we know can control this virus until science can make us safe.”
The UK has already secured 40 million doses of the vaccine from Pfizer / Bioentech, which uses the same technology as Modern and should be in the UK before Christmas.
But the government did not issue an order with Moderna at the time, and a government spokesman said the blink would not be available until “early 2021 in the UK”.
The only advantages of Moder include that it is easier to store and transport as it can be kept in a traditional freezer for up to six months when the Pfizer / Bioentech vaccine requires minus 70C.
As Conservative backbenchers pressured the prime minister not to extend the lockdown next month, Mr Hancock said he did not yet have the data to understand its impact.
“It is too early for us to know the number of cases as the current lockdown comes to an end,” the health secretary said.
“But we fully hope that the national downfall will be able to replace the downtime with a tiered system as before.”
Dr Hopkins said Tier 2 appears to have worked in some areas under local restrictions but “not so well in others”.
“We have seen very little impact from Tier 1 and I think when we look at what the levels might be in the future, we will have to think about strengthening them until the vaccine is available to everyone during the winter months. , ”He added.
- The government announced that a further 213 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 by Monday, bringing the total number in the UK to 52,147.
- Scotland’s first prime minister, Nicola Sturgeon, will announce the lockdown on Tuesday. He said areas with “stubborn” high “levels of the virus could be temporarily placed under more severe restrictions to provide more flexibility to” limit and carefully simplify “Christmas regulations.
- According to a plan leaked to the Daily Mail, thousands of volunteers could be trained to administer the coronavirus vaccine without any medical background to deliver the government’s mass vaccination plans. St. John Ambulance, which will be one of the organizations training those who sign up, confirmed the representative for the charity on Monday evening.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister continues to separate himself after a meeting with Lee Anderson, an MP who tested positive for Covid-19.
Tim Peto, a professor of medicine at Oxford University, said rapid tests should be employed to help people get out of quarantine faster.
He told the Telegraph, “There’s an easy way to approach the belt and bracket – we have to run a system that can give him (Mr. Johnson) a quick test and come back to Parliament the next day.”
“The current system has not been able to adapt to the knowledge we have gained. We need to use these tests to get people out of quarantine more quickly.”
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