World Media

Hancock refuses to rule out ordering pubs to shut again

UK Health Secretary says Britain at'tipping point

He continued: "We've seen relatively few cases caught through schools, and people at work - schools have got huge procedures in place to keep schools safe, and the return to school has gone really well".

Hancock said his answer on pubs, was "not a no, and it's not a yes". "I don't rule it out; I don't want to see it".

This Morning host Holly Willoughby confronted Health Secretary Matt Hancock on today's episode of the show (Monday, September 21).

Mr Hancock responded: "I want to make sure we avoid the sort of lockdown we saw last time".

"The more we can control it now by everybody doing that bit, including us - absolutely - but everybody together, then the easier it is going to be to have as normal a Christmas as possible".

He stressed: "But, it means making these decisions now".

On the possibility of a vaccine, Mr Hancock said: 'For the mass rollout we're talking about the first bit of next year, if all goes well.

Additionally, coronavirus tests will now be prioritised; firstly for hospital patients, second for care homes, third for NHS staff (including Global Positioning System and pharmacists), fourth for targeted testing to manage and monitor outbreaks, fifth for teachers with Covid-19 symptoms, and then the general public with symptoms, whilst prioritising those in areas where there are more infections.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives for a service to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain at Westminster Abbey, London, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020.

There were nearly 4,000 new cases of coronavirus in the United Kingdom yesterday.

"So we will introduce a £500 isolation support payment for people on low incomes who can't work because they have tested positive or [been] asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace".

A Cabinet minister said: "People have been registering in pubs as Donald Duck and providing made-up phone numbers, or not giving any contact details at all".

Pubs and restaurants could also be forced to abide by a strict 10pm curfew to try and curb growing infections from people drinking and forgetting social distancing.

Matt Hancock has announced an exemption for people living in areas of local lockdown where mixing households is forbidden, allowing care for under-14s or vulnerable adults.

Professor Carl Heneghan, director of Oxford University's centre for evidence-based medicine, said the country "can't afford to go now with harsh measures", saying there will be an inevitable resurgence in cases.

Hancock later told the BBC that a second national lockdown was possible option.

The Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser will deliver a stark televised address to the nation this morning, with Prof Whitty expected to say that the United Kingdom is facing a "very challenging winter".