Matt Hancock to hold Downing Street vaccine update press conference at 5pm
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Matt Hancock will address the nation from Downing Street at 5pm after it emerged the Government’s vaccination goal will be achieved ahead of target.
The Health Secretary is expected to speak on the success of the vaccination scheme, which has given out 12 million doses.
It is understood the NHS is now ahead of target, and will complete the vaccination of all over 70s groups within three days of the February 15 deadline, according to analysis by the Spectator.
He is also expected to speak on a new Government contract for 20 million British-made coronavirus tests, which will be able to produce a result in under 30 minutes.
The lateral flow tests will be made by Derby-based SureScreen Diagnostics and will be rolled out at work places and schools.
Mr Hancock’s good news comes after preliminary results found the University of Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine is effective against the highly transmissible South African coronavirus variant.
The variant is confirmed to be in eight areas at present, including Southport, Walsall, Ealing, Tottenham, Mitcham, Broxbourne, Maidstone and Woking.
The Health Secretary told press on February 1 the Government will monitor the eight postcodes in an effort to crack down.
Speaking from Downing Street, Mr Hancock said: "There’s currently no evidence to suggest this variant is any more severe but we need to come down on it hard.
"It is not straightforward and as you say there may be further cases we don't know about yet and our genomic sequencing is in place to try to spot them.
"The most important thing is that people in the postcode areas outlined need to take extra special precautions."
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He added that it is "vital" for people in the identified areas to "minimise all social contact" and get a test when they are approached.
Mr Hancock said: "It is absolutely vital that people in those areas minimise all social contact and get a test when the opportunity arises.
"It's a big effort getting this new variant… essentially finding every single case of it, that is the goal."
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