The health secretary has refused to rule out extending the lockdown past 2 December.

Speaking to ITV News, Matt Hancock said “it is too early to say” whether England’s national lockdown will end on December 2 as the Prime Minister planned, with the government waiting to see if coronavirus numbers have sufficiently dropped before relaxing restrictions.

The health secretary said there’s “a bit longer to wait” before the government can know the impact of the lockdown, which has forced the closure of most hospitality businesses and banned most social interactions.

Asked whether each area in England would go back into Tier 3 after lockdown, Mr Hancock said “there’s no guarantees in any of this”.

The current measures expire on the 2 December and MP’s will then vote to decide whether the restrictions will be extended.

The comments by Mr Hancock come as the Prime Minister is beginning his self-isolation at 10 Downing Street.

Mr Johnson was contacted by NHS Test & Trace on Sunday after coming into contact with a fellow MP Lee Anderson who had tested positive for the virus.

The Prime Minister met with Mr Anderson and 5 other MP’s at a breakfast meeting on Thursday along with two political aides.

Mr Johnson’s spokesman declined to name the aides but suggested they were not Lee Cain or Dominic Cummings, who left Downing Street last week.

In a video from No 10, Mr Johnson urged others to “follow the rules” if contacted by the system.

 

The PM’s official spokesman insisted that Downing Street is “Covid-secure”.

He said “social distancing did happen” but factors such as the length of the meeting were considered by Test and Trace.

There could be good news on the horizon for a Covid-19 vaccine as a second company has said their vaccine is effective.

The data from US company Moderna shows that their vaccine is 95% effective against COVID-19

The news from Moderna comes after Pfizer announced last week that their vaccine was 90% effective.

The news has led to growing confidence that vaccines can help end the pandemic.

Matt Hancock said preliminary trials showing it to be 94.5% effective were “excellent news” and that, if it proves safe, the jabs can be rolled out across the UK by spring 2021. With the UK ordering 5 million doses of the vaccine.

Prof Trudie Lang, from the University of Oxford, said: “It is very good news indeed to see another vaccine coming through with similar efficacy results as were reported last week from Pfizer.