Matt Hancock: ‘No holidays if vaccination rollouts are delayed’

Matt Hancock outlines reform for UK healthcare system

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The Health Secretary urged the public to be “patient” following mixed messages from ministers about domestic travel. But MPs are concerned the Government’s road map out of lockdown, due to be published later this month, is already slipping. Mr Hancock said there is still “uncertainty” about the next steps and the Government will “set out more in more detail when we can”.

The Cabinet minister, who has already booked a break in Cornwall, said reuniting families would come before holidays. He said: “I know people are yearning for certainty over whether they can have a summer holiday, but pandemics are difficult times and there is a lot of uncertainty.

“So I am afraid that people will have to be patient before we can get that certainty.

“We are doing everything we can to make sure people can have a holiday this summer, but the vaccine rollout is absolutely essential to that.”

He said high take-up rates “will all help us get out of this and help us get back to normal”.

However, some Tory MPs have warned the Government that it must not shift the goalposts on easing lockdown.

Fears the timetable is already being stretched were fuelled when Downing Street refused to commit to producing the strategy for lifting lockdown on February 22, as previously promised by Boris Johnson.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said only that it would be released that week, which could lead to delays in reopening schools.

Conservative MP Mark Harper, chairman of the backbench Covid Recovery Group, said: “It’s crucial we don’t backslide on this, not least because the Government has said it wants to give schools two weeks’ notice before opening.”

And Steve Baker MP added: “I fear that senior scientists are failing to recognise their power to spread despair and despondency.”

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