Covid-19 Update

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:46 pm on 14th December 2020.

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Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 3:46 pm, 14th December 2020

We are always open to finding new ways to protect the economy as much as possible and bring the virus under control. I share my right hon. Friend’s desire to get it under control and to keep it under control until a vaccine can make us safe, but unfortunately this is no longer just a problem among school-age children in Waltham Forest and north-east London, which it has been until the last week’s data. The case rate among the over-60s in Waltham Forest is now over 250 and we are seeing that rising over the last week. We are also seeing rising admissions to hospital.

I have a huge amount of sympathy for everybody affected by these decisions in Waltham Forest, but it is absolutely essential to get this under control now to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed in the future. We must break the inexorable link from cases now to hospitalisations in the future—and, sadly, deaths—by using the vaccine and by testing. Until we can have the vaccine fully rolled out and people inoculated by having their second dose, and until enough vulnerable people have had that second dose and have therefore become inoculated, unfortunately measures like this are necessary.