Matt Hancock has said he can “rule out” removal of support and childcare bubbles if lockdown restrictions tighten.
In a press conference on Downing Street, the Health Secretary warned the UK that it is currently at “worst point” in the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also warned the government against tightening the current lockdown restrictions a bit to prevent the spread of a “highly contagious” strain of the virus.
While work on immunizing the four main priority groups goes through February 15, Hancock urged the public to stay home and reduce all social contact by acting like “you have the virus”.
However, the Minister of Health ruled out removing support and childcare bubbles.
He said, “I can rule out removing the bubbles that are present. The childcare bubbles (and) the support bubbles are very important and we will keep them.”
“I know how important they are to the people, and they are an important part of the system we have to support the people while taking the tough measures necessary at the same time.”
He continued, “The bubbles are there for individual, specific people. So if you’ve bubbled with someone, this is the person you bubbled with.
“You can’t move bubbles anymore, that’s very important. Someone in your bubble becomes essentially part of your household.
“It is important that people stick to the same bubble, but the bubble policy will remain.”
Boris Johnson warned today (Jan. 11) that stricter lockdown measures may be required.
The Prime Minister stressed that “now is the time for maximum vigilance” amid increasing calls for stricter lockdown restrictions as case rates rise in several parts of the country.
During a visit to a vaccine center at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol, the Prime Minister said: “We will keep the rules under review.
“Where we have to tighten it, we will.
“We already have rules that, if properly followed, we believe can make a huge difference.
“Now people have to focus … when they go shopping, whether they go to the park for a cup of coffee or whatever, they have to think about the spread of the disease.”
Mr Johnson said that “more important than us is just bringing out new rules” that people should follow the existing guidelines.
He added, “In supermarkets, people need to keep their distance, make sure they are wearing masks and do the right thing.
“We have to enforce the rules in supermarkets. When people get takeaway drinks in cafes, they need to avoid spreading the disease there and avoid mixing too much.
“Now is the time for maximum vigilance, maximum compliance with the rules.
“When we feel like things are not being watched properly, we obviously have to do more.”
Regarding vaccines, the Prime Minister said roughly 40% of 80 year olds in the UK have now been vaccinated, with roughly 23% of senior care home residents being vaccinated.