Matt Hancock warns Covid spreading ‘fastest’ in Tier 3 areas amid lockdown fears

Matt Hancock says Tier 3 areas are 'spreading infection the fastest'

Matt Hancock has warned cases of COVID-19 are spreading the “fastest” in some Tier 3 areas. The Health Secretary has suggested the UK could be plunged into another lockdown as current restrictions are not controlling the spread of the virus. A new national lockdown looks likely to be imposed across England as the Government was accused by Labour of letting coronavirus “get out of control”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Hancock said: “There are Tier 3 areas of the country where the virus is clearly spreading and increasing and in fact, some of those areas is where it’s increasing the fastest.

“We have moved incredibly fast to take action when necessary including on Boxing Day.

“We don’t shy away from those decisions, as difficult as they are.

“They can be necessary for the control of the virus.”

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Asked whether more areas would go into Tier 4 restrictions, Mr Hancock added: “You do have to actually make the decisions and it’s incredibly important to balance all of the very significant impacts of these decisions that we have to take.

“But we have shown we are prepared to move incredibly quickly, within 24 hours if we think that is necessary.

“We keep things under review all the time.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson signalled tougher restrictions would be brought in within weeks, pressure mounted on the Government to act far more swiftly as Labour demanded a lockdown within hours.

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Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer accused the Prime Minister of presiding over a “chaotic” response to the coronavirus pandemic as he insisted on new restrictions immediately to try to regain control of the situation.

Sir Keir told reporters the Prime Minister should not hint at new restrictions within weeks but, instead, act now.

The Labour leader said: “The virus is clearly out of control.

“We can’t allow the Prime Minister to use up the next two or three weeks and then bring in a national lockdown which is inevitable.

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“Do it now. That’s the necessary first step to get the virus back under control.”

Speaking on Sunday as controversy raged over whether more schools should be shut, Sir Keir said further closures of classrooms were “inevitable”.

Sir Keir insisted new moves must be “part of a wider strategy that has a national lockdown in place in the next 24 hours”.

He added: “The Prime Minister is hinting at it, but he’s not doing it. We can’t afford that delay again.

“Let’s not have the Prime Minister saying ‘I’m going to do it, but not yet’, that’s the problem he has made so many times.”

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