The Minister of Health says the NHS is under pressure but defends the decision to keep several schools open
Matt Hancock indicated that, within 24 hours, the government could implement even stricter measures against the coronavirus in England. He said that because of increasingly growing case numbers across the country, the NHS was under “significant pressure”
The Minister of Health defended the government’s decision to keep many schools open in England, which many communities and parents condemn, and said that because of all the negative effects of that decision, closing schools was “absolutely the last resort because of all the negative effects of that decision.”
The “chaotic handling” of the reopening of schools after Christmas was criticized by a joint statement from six groups representing teachers and other school workers, with some parents not knowing what will happen to their children’s school until Sunday evening.
Hancock, however, dismissed claims that the government was again working too slowly to control the Covid-19 outbreak, which is now being exacerbated by the advent of a new version that is more readily transmitted.
“We have acted incredibly quickly when necessary, including on Boxing Day. We don’t shy away from decisions, however difficult they may be,” he told Today’s program on BBC Radio 4. We’ve shown that we’re prepared to move extremely fast, if we think it’s necessary, within 24 hours.
And all the time, we study these stuff.
Hancock suggested that moving more places still under the previous highest level of Covid limits, Tier 3, to Tier 4, under which most stores are still closed, may be an immediate move.
Asked if the government should act within 24 hours, Hancock said, “We look at the data on a daily basis, and we can see that significant increases are taking place right now, especially in the areas that are still in Tier 3.”
But I still come back to this wider argument that it’s up to all of us. People who don’t come into contact with other people are the thing that prevents the spread of the disease. That’s the sad fact.
The Labour Party called for England’s national lockdown with immediate effect, citing the severity of the spike in case numbers of coronavirus and the subsequent effects in terms of hospital admissions and deaths.
Although Hancock agreed that it is right to conclude that “the NHS is under significant pressure,” he said that it was not actually greater than the original Covid spike in the spring because capacity was also increased, while the number of patients in the hospital was greater.
Shortly after an 82-year-old man became the first person in the world outside of clinical trials to receive the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, Hancock said he was “incredibly concerned” about another form of the virus, apparently from South Africa, which some researchers say may be immune to current vaccines.
Hancock, in another interview with Sky News, said that the use of the new vaccine marks “a real key moment” in the battle against covid.
There’s intense pressure on the government over the schools. The joint declaration of the unions said that the current strategy “exposes education workers to a serious risk of disease and could fuel the pandemic. The declaration said, “The chaotic handling of school opening by the government has created uncertainty among teachers, school staff and parents alike.
“But Hancock said, speaking to Sky News, “It is clear that the proportion of teachers who contract coronavirus is no higher than that of the rest of the population.
So behind the stance we are taking, there is a strong health guideline, and that’s what people should obey, because education is also very important, of course, particularly for the long-term health of people.
Kate Green, Minister of Shadow Education, told Today that there is a need for stronger government action. “It’s very clear that the government has lost control of the virus, we’re seeing a really alarming increase in cases and in the spread of infection,” she said.