Matt Hancock says it's impossible to know when lockdown will end

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said England coronavirus lockdown restrictions will remain in place for as long as “necessary”.

Mr Hancock said the vaccination program was “on track” to deliver the sting to the 14 million most vulnerable people by February 15.

However, he told Sky News it was “impossible to know” when restrictions might be relaxed.

“We will not hold the restrictions for a moment longer than necessary, but we will hold them for as long as they are necessary,” he said.

“These measures that we have taken we hope to be able to lift, and we should be able to lift if we have been able to vaccinate vulnerable people – at the moment vaccination is not able to do that. “

When Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the lockdown, he said the rules would stay in place until at least mid-February – with legislation stipulating that the rules stay in place until March 31.

Experts say a lockdown may take longer, with the possibility of pubs closing by May.

Mr Hancock said the BBC ban rules “are always under review”.

Mr Hancock said the NHS is considering plans to move some patients to hotels to ease pressure on hospitals.

Mr Hancock told Sky News: “There is tremendous pressure on the NHS and we are looking at different ways to relieve that pressure.

“We’d only ever do that if it was clinically right for someone. In some cases, people need seated care, they don’t have to lie in a hospital bed.

“It’s by no means a specific suggestion, but it’s something we look at when we look at all of the eventualities.”

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