Matt Hancock says public must ‘follow the rules’ to ensure England exits lockdown as planned

Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 9:44 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 9:44 am
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said “it is on all of us” to continue to follow the rules (Photo: Tolga Akmen - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Covid lockdown restrictions will begin to ease over the next few months as part of the Government’s roadmap plan for England, but Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said “it is on all of us” to continue to follow the rules.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the Government’s four-stage plan out of lockdown on Monday (22 Feb), with the aim of all restrictions being removed from 21 June.

However, a review will take place before each stage, based on four-key tests, and each stage could be pushed back if needed.

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The four tests are:

  • The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan
  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions
  • New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions

‘This is on all of us’

The Health Secretary told Times Radio said that complete eradication of Covid-19 is “not possible” and will therefore be something that “we are going to have to learn with,” similarly to how “we live with flu, but we don’t let flu get in the way of living our lives.”

“What we want to do is get rid of the social distancing-type laws that get in the way of normal life and move to personal responsibility, rather than laws dictating how all of us live our daily lives,” Mr Hancock added.

However, addressing the Government’s four-stage easing of lockdown restrictions - with a five week gap in between each stage - Mr Hancock said they hope the plan will go ahead at every stage, but that people need to continue to follow the rules in order for this to happen.

Mr Hancock told Sky News: “We want to be able to hit those milestones, but we will be vigilant and watch what's happening to make sure it's safe to make each move.”

"The prime minister set out the four tests we will apply before announcing each move can go ahead.

"Of course we want to make the moves at the dates that are set out.

"But it's on all of us to make sure we can by continuing to follow the rules between now and then as the vaccine rollout continues and as the really, really positive impact of those vaccines takes effect.

"This is on all of us."