‘Long way to go’ before lockdown can be eased despite drop in cases

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Priti Patel has warned ‘we have a long way to go’ before coronavirus restrictions can be eased.

The Home Secretary said the country is at ‘a pivotal stage’ in the battle against the virus, with more than 10 million people in the four priority groups still to receive their vaccine.

She told Sky News: ‘We cannot talk about easing restrictions and measures until we are absolutely clear we have vaccinated priority groups.’

Asked whether mid-February remained the target for lifting some measures, she said that remained the aim for targeting those in the top four priority groups but that it was ‘no time to speak about’ relaxations when the NHS was under such current strain.

Ms Patel added: ‘Quite frankly, when I look at the incredible work that is taking place in the NHS right now, when we still see hospitalisation figures now standing at over 38,000 people, with the number of people still dying with coronavirus, with the number of hospital admissions increasing, this is no time to speak about the relaxation of measures and we’re not going to do that publicly yet.

‘We have a long way to go.’

This is a breaking news story, updates to follow…

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