'Your actions can make a difference' - Health Secretary urges public not to be complacent

11 January 2021, 17:38

Health Secretary Matt Hancock addressed a Downing Street briefing
Health Secretary Matt Hancock addressed a Downing Street briefing. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the government 'does not rule out further action if needed', and reminds the public not to be complacent.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has pleaded with the public to follow coronavirus rules and reduce all social contact that is not "absolutely" necessary.

He told a Downing Street press conference that the new variant of coronavirus is "highly contagious and it is putting the NHS under very significant pressure".

Read more: 2.6 million Covid-19 vaccination jabs given in UK as PM warns of 'perilous moment'

Mr Hancock echoed England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty in saying "we're at the worst point in this pandemic".

And he said: "The NHS, more than ever before, needs everybody to be doing something right now - and that something is to follow the rules.

"I know there has been speculation about more restrictions, and we don't rule out taking further action if it is needed, but it is your actions now that can make a difference.

"Stay at home, and please reduce all social contact that is not absolutely strictly necessary. That's what is needed: act like you have the virus."
Read more: NHS facing 'most dangerous situation in memory', Professor Chris Whitty warns

Watch: London patients queue for Covid vaccine in near-freezing temperatures

Earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that further lockdown measures may be required if people do not follow the rules.

On a visit to a vaccination centre in Bristol, he said: "We're going to keep the rules under constant review.

"Where we have to tighten them, we will.

"We have rules in place already which, if they are properly followed, we believe can make a huge, huge difference.

"It's now that people need to focus ... when they're out shopping, whether they're buying cups of coffee in the park or whatever it happens to be, they need to think about spreading the disease."

He added: "Now is the moment for maximum vigilance, maximum observance of the rules.

"Of course, if we feel that things are not being properly observed then we may have to do more."