Matt Hancock to give latest COVID updates in press conference today

Victoria Bell
·3-min read
Health Secretary Matt Hancock during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19).
Health secretary Matt Hancock at a coronavirus media briefing in Downing Street, London.

Matt Hancock will lead a Downing Street press conference on Monday evening, No 10 has said.

It has not yet been revealed who will join the health secretary in the briefing and the time has not been set, although it is likely to take place at 5pm.

It comes after Hancock’s announcement that half of all over-80s have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, and that in total 3.2 million people have been given the jab across the UK.

As of Monday, over-70s and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals will start receiving vaccination invitations.

Boris Johnson tweeted: “Today marks a significant milestone as we offer vaccinations to millions more people who are most at risk from COVID-19.

Watch: Hancock says government up for 24-hour vaccinations

“We have a long way to go and there will be challenges ahead – but together we are making huge progress in our fight against this virus.”

At the press conference Hancock may give an update on whether lockdown measures in England are bringing down the rate of coronavirus infections.

He told told ITV’s Good Morning Britain last week: “I am looking to see the case rate just starting to level off. I hope that is what we start to see over the next few days.

“The few days ahead of us is the critical period to know whether this national lockdown is working.”

He is also expected to talk about whether the government is on course for its target of vaccinating over 13 million people by the middle of February.

Ten more COVID mass vaccination centres have opened in England to immunise people from Monday.

Read more:
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More than 1 million people aged 80 and over will be invited to receive their coronavirus jabs at the hubs.

The 10 sites will join the seven existing centres dotted across the country, as well as more than 1,000 GP-led vaccination sites.

The government has pledged that every adult in the UK will be offered a coronavirus vaccine by September.

The NHS has said it is vaccinating at a rate of 140 jabs per minute and will start testing 24/7 vaccinations in some hospitals in the next 10 days.

On Monday, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said lockdown restrictions could be lifted from early March, with a return to the tier system.

Vaccine deployment minister Nadhim Zahawi giving a statement on the the roll out of the coronavirus vaccine across the UK in the House of Commons, London.
Vaccine deployment minister Nadhim Zahawi gives a statement on the the rollout of COVID vaccines. (PA)

Zahawi said that once millions of the most vulnerable are vaccinated with a first dose by the middle of February, it takes just a few weeks for their immune response to kick in and offer protection.

He told BBC Breakfast: “If we take the mid-February target, two weeks after that you get your protection pretty much for the Pfizer/BioNTech (jab), three weeks for the Oxford/AstraZeneca, (then) you are protected.

Read more: What you can and can't do under current lockdown rules

“That’s 80% of mortality.

“It will be gradual, it will be probably through the tiered system, but you’re looking at that sort of period – two to three weeks after the middle of February where we’ve protected those top four cohorts.”

Watch: Vaccine to be offered to the over-70s from Monday