The top talking points from Health Secretary Matt Hancock's press conference - from lifting lockdown to the Brazilian variant

The Health Secretary held a press conference yesterday, March 1, and addressed a number of important issues – including the new variant, vaccinations, and lifting lockdown.

By Sam Ward
Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 10:33 am

The Health Secretary addressed the nation from Downing Street yesterday, March 1 after a new ‘Brazilian variant’ of Coronavirus was found in the UK.

An individual found to have a positive case of the P1 variant of the virus is thought to have used a home testing kit but ‘did not successfully complete contact details’.

The Government has asked for this individual to come forward.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock talks at the government Coronavirus briefing at Downing Street on March 1, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Vogler - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Matt Hancock also addressed the vaccine programme, the budget, and the easing of restrictions.

The new variant

The Health Secretary addressed the new variant of the virus, which would be more resilient to the vaccine.

Matt Hancock said: "Three in Scotland, three in England. We know that five of these people quarantined at home as they were legally required to do.

"We've been in contact with them and their families and we're grateful to them for understanding the seriousness of the situation.

"We're putting in place surge testing in South Gloucestershire as a precaution.

"And I urge everyone to remain vigilant. One of the six completed a test but did not successfully complete contact details."

Anyone who was tested for the virus on February 12 or 13 but did not receive their results is being told to call 119.

Vaccine programme

He addressed the success of the vaccine programme, and highlighted how hospital admissions are declining – especially in older people.

He also said that a singular dose of both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca have been found to stop 80 per cent of hospitalisations of over 70’s.

He said: “This shows, in the real world, across the UK right now, that the vaccine is helping both to protect the NHS and to save lives.”

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England who joined the Health Secretary, added: "The data gives us those first glimpses of how, if we are patient, and we give this vaccine programme time to have its full effect, it is going to hopefully take us into a very different world in the next few months.”


He added that “there are not specific thresholds” for easing lockdown, and the roadmap will remain in place depending on factors.