UK Health Secretary suggests COVID vaccine rollout needed before lockdowns end

'We've got a long way to go to sort this. Essentially, we've got to get that vaccine rolled out to keep people safe'
Tue Dec 22, 2020 - 12:02 pm EST
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UK Health Secretary Matthew Hancock Bart Lenoir /

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UNITED KINGDOM, December 22, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) –UK Health Secretary Matthew Hancock has suggested that stringent lockdown restrictions in the UK will continue until a COVID-19 vaccine is “rolled out.” 

“Unfortunately, this virus, the new strain, was out of control,” Hancock told Sky News host Sophy Ridge after the U.K.’s new lockdown measures were announced.

“We’ve got to get it under control. The only way you can do that is by restricting social contact. Especially in tier 4 areas, everybody needs to behave as if they might well have the virus.” 

The U.K.’s tier-4 restrictions are extremely restrictive, not only barring “non-essential” businesses from opening, but also prohibiting households from mixing. The rules dictate that “Tier 4 residents must not stay overnight away from home, and cannot travel abroad.”

Hancock explained that he considers it a “duty to act” to respond to the “new scientific evidence” that has emerged about a new, faster-spreading strain of COVID-19.

“People in tier 4 restrictions - they’re not going to be coming out anytime soon, are they?” asked Ridge. 

“We've got a long way to go to sort this. Essentially, we've got to get that vaccine rolled out to keep people safe.” Hancock replied.

When Ridge asked again whether it was likely that people in tier 4 areas would remain under the same level of restrictions “until that vaccine is rolled out,” Hancock reiterated his point, without giving a definitive answer.

“I think thatgiven how much faster this new variant spreads, it is going to be very difficult to keep it under control until we have the vaccine rolled out,” he continued.

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Hancock suggested, moreover, that they would need to double-down on other measures to curb the new COVID-19 virus strain.

“All of the different measures that we have in place, we need more of them to control the spread of the new variant than we did to control the spread of the old variant. That is the fundamental problem,” he said.

Hancock berated those who sought to escape the COVID-19 restrictions by leaving London. After Ridge showed an image of a train station swarming with people, he said, “This was clearly totally irresponsible behavior. The chief medical officer was absolutely clear that people should unpack their bags if they have them packed.”

“It is more important than ever that people are responsible, not only stick to the rules, but even within the rules restrict social contact as much as is possible, because this is deadly serious,” Hancock continued.

He cracked a smile, however, when Ridge asked about the progress of the vaccine rollout.

“The numbers are accelerating and rising fast, the numbers that we’re vaccinating,” said Hancock.

This isn’t the first time Hancock has been visibly happy about COVID-19 vaccinations. Hancock was blasted earlier this December for appearing to cry for joy and wipe his eyes one moment, and laugh the next, in response to a clip showing one of the first UK residents receiving a COVID-19 vaccine on Good Morning Britain. 

British comedian Russell Brand was one of many who called out Hancock for what appeared to be an inauthentic display of emotion, and described it as “revelatory.”

“I don’t think that’s actual crying is it? It’s sort of laughing. He's evidently not crying, if what you mean by crying is tears coming out of someone's eyes, because that's not what's happened.”

“I do think...that Hancock had an unconscious reaction, a demonstration of relief, [that] required an element of theater to continue it.”

Brand pointed out that 18 billion pounds in coronavirus related contracts were awarded during the first six months of the pandemic.”

“So there’s this performative element of politics going on the TV and sort of cry-laughing. Then there's this reality of politics: contracts awarded, decisions made that are advantageous to friends, affiliates, and associates,” he continued.

“I suppose what this indicates is behind the theater of conventional politics, business as usual is being conducted. In fact, it's business better than usual for the extremely wealthy. The coronavirus pandemic and corresponding lockdown has made way for one of the greatest wealth transfers in history,” said Brand.

Ridge ended her discussion of COVID-19 with Hancock by asking whether he would have a neighbor arrested for breaking the lockdown restrictions, which he avoided answering directly.

“If you knew your neighbors for example were breaking the rules at Christmas, would you call the police?”

“Well, I just think it’s so important that every single person follows these rules,” Hancock replied.

LifeSiteNews has produced an extensive COVID-19 vaccines resources page.  View it here.

  coronavirus restrictions, coronavirus vaccine, covid-19, lockdowns, matt hancock

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