Matt Hancock acted unlawfully over details of Covid contracts, judge rules

Health secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday that teachers would not get priority for the Covid-19 vaccine

News of the new vaccine targets came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with senior ministers on Sunday to finalise a "road map" out of the national lockdown, a plan he is to announce on Monday.

He said: "We've asked the expert group, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), what order we should vaccinate in, broadly in order to reduce the number of deaths as fast as possible". But UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Sunday that "we now think that we have the supplies" to speed up the vaccination campaign.

The government said on Sunday that all adults in Britain would be offered a first shot by the end of July, with a target to give a first dose to all over-50s by April 15.

Johnson will set out his thinking on the easing of lockdown on Monday.

"The Prime Minister will set out the road map tomorrow and he will set out the full details - taking into account that we need to take a cautious but irreversible approach, that's the goal".

He added that ministers also wanted "to give that indicative sense and a direction so that people can start to begin to plan their lives in a way that they have all put on hold for, well, for the past year and certainly the last month or so when we have been in this second national lockdown".

Mr Harper said restrictions should not remain in place simply to prevent the emergence of new variants, warning that such a policy would result in curbs being in place indefinitely.

"If we eased off very rapidly now, we would get another surge in hospitalisations, so we have to ease very gradually".

"We hit it hard and send in enhanced contact-tracing and go door-to-door". We've now got this programme in place to be able to really, really try to stamp out a new variant where we see it.

"There is evidence that is working". We also absolutely will be vigilant to the data on the way.

"The risk comes when we release the lockdown", he said, adding that allowing the virus to circulate in younger healthier people could lead to further mutations that undermine the vaccine programme.

Mr Hancock said there is evidence that cases of new variants in the United Kingdom, such as those discovered in Brazil and South Africa, are falling - as he suggested new border restrictions and enhanced contact tracing are working.

When legal action was taken by the Good Law Project, the High Court found that Hancock had "acted unlawfully" by breaching his legal obligation to publish Contract Award Notices within 30 days of awarding contracts.

"But most of those are now historic cases and from over a month ago", he told the BBC's Andrew Marr show.

"We have seen throughout this pandemic that there have been moments when things haven't got as we expected - for instance, when the new variant was first discovered in Kent".

Governor Andrew Cuomo said the first case of the South African coronavirus (COVID-19) variant has been identified in a resident of NY state. One is that it absolutely must be safe, specifically for children, so that is being now investigated.

Asked what impact the vaccine roll-out was having so far, he said there were signs that it was reducing transmission and that the numbers in hospital were falling much more sharply than they did in the first wave of the pandemic.