England is still a “long, long, long way” from being able to lift coronavirus restrictions, the UK’s health spokesman says, despite millions of people having already been vaccinated.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock says there’s evidence that restrictions were having an impact and that the vaccination programme was making “brilliant progress”.
Three quarters of all those over 80 in the UK have now been vaccinated, with a similar number of those in care homes.
But Hancock says case numbers were “incredibly high” and the health system remains 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 on Sunday.
The latest Government figures for the rollout of the vaccine programme across the UK showed another record day with 491,970 people receiving their first dose, taking the total to more than 6.3 million.
The death toll of the coronavirus in the UK is now at 97,939.
The Health Secretary said he had a “high degree of confidence” that lockdown restrictions would eventually be lifted in time for the summer.
“I hope we have a great British summer. The number of cases are starting to come down but there’s a long time between now and then,” he told Times Radio.