Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned the Government is a “long, long, long way” from being able to lift coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England.
Mr Hancock said there was evidence that restrictions in place were having an impact while the vaccination programme was making “brilliant progress”. However, he said that case numbers were “incredibly high” and the NHS remained under intense pressure.
“There is early evidence that the lockdown is starting to bring cases down but we are a long, long, long way from being low enough because the case rate was incredibly high,” he told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme.
“You can see the pressure on the NHS – you can see it every day.”
Mr Hancock said that while he hoped schools in England could reopen by Easter, it would depend on the levels of infection in the community at that time.
“We have got to look at the data, we have got to look at the impact of the vaccination programme,” he said.
“The Education Secretary (Gavin Williamson) has said that we will ensure schools get two weeks’ notice of return. I don’t know whether it will be then or before then. We have got to watch the data.”