Speaking later at a press conference, Mr Johnson denied that he was a “gloomster” – a charge levelled by some Tory lockdown-sceptics who believe the plans are too cautious – but said he would not be “buccaneering” with people’s lives.
Matt Hancock says number of variant cases across the UK had “fallen quite sharply”
“The good news is that the number of new variant cases we’re finding across the whole UK is falling, and has fallen quite sharply over the last month,” he told Sky News.
“In the last week or so, there were just over a dozen new cases, which is far smaller than we were seeing even a couple of weeks ago.
“So the extra measures that we’re taking at the border are working.”
Matt Hancock says five-week gap between lockdown phases is essential
The Health Secretary told Sky News: “It’s very important that we can see the impact of one step before taking the next step.
“There’s just a vital need to keep watching the data and for all of us… to stick with this plan. We want to be able to hit those milestones but we will be vigilant and watch what’s happening to make sure its safe to make each move.”
Covid vaccines for 600 homeless and vulnerable people
GPs at the Meadowell clinic at Watford Health Centre are targeting hard-to-reach groups most at risk if they contract coronavirus.
“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel” – Matt Hancock
The Health Secretary told Sky News: “The safety is important and we’re determined, as the Prime Minister puts it, that this should be irreversible, that is the goal.
“Then it’s a judgement about how much we can lift and at what moment. This isn’t just about choices the Government makes, it’s about how everybody responds and pulls together.
“For now it’s so important that everyone sticks to the existing rules. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel and the best way for everybody to get there, will be to keep abiding by the rules and then as we release things, we need to move to that pace, because that’s what we expect to be the safe way to get through this as fast as we can.”