Matt Hancock thanks people for not having sex during lockdown

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock has thanked couples living apart during lockdown for not breaking Covid rules to meet up and have sex.

Mr Hancock was joined by Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van Tam and Dr Susan Hopkins, Senior Medical Advisor at Public Health England at Friday's Downing Street press conference.

At the press conference, Hannah, from Belfast, asked the Health Secretary: "Why has the Government removed guidance from last summer, allowing couples in established relationships not to socially distance from each other?

"And will support bubbles be extended to allow couples to see each other again without limits on social contact?"

Mr Hancock replied: "We made the change that we did because as we went into the lockdown over the Autumn, in November, and then again at the start of January, we wanted to make sure that we did everything we possibly could to stop this from spreading.

"I'm absolutely sure that the actions that everybody has taken and the sacrifices people have made have had that very positive impact.

"We do look, of course at support bubbles and we hold all these rules under review, but the purpose of the support bubbles is that so people living on their own can socialise because we know just how difficult it is to live on your own if you have no contact at all, so that's the reason for that support bubble."

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England's deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam warned during the press conference that the country's battle against coronavirus is "not won yet".

He said: "Although it is generally good news it is better news in some places than others. It is not a battle that we have won yet."

He added: "We have now completed 19 million first doses of vaccine very successfully.

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"These are first doses. People do need a second dose and given that the totality of the cohorts one to nine is about 30 million people., each of whom need two doses of vaccine, there are something like 40 million doses still to be given.

"Much as it's encouraging and I am really very upbeat about vaccines, there is a long way to go.

"And my inbox in the last week has been besieged with people writing in saying I have had the vaccine, can I now start to break the rules.

"The answer to that is no, we are not yet collectively as a country in the right place.

"This is all going very well but there are some worrying signs that people are relaxing, taking their foot off

"It's like being 3-0 up in a game and thinking we cannot lose this now.

"Do not wreck this now. It is too early to relax. Just a few more months."

The Government had faced calls to prioritise key workers such as teachers and police officers in the next phase of the rollout, but Mr Hancock confirmed during the press conference they would continue with an age-based approach.

Some 19million UK adults have now received their first dose of the Covid vaccine.

In England, the NHS says it has given first doses to 94.3% of over-80s, 100.3% of 75-79s, 94.4% of 70-74s, 75.3% of 65-69s and 15.9% of under-65s.

One figure is over 100% because the NHS is relying on population estimates which are not completely accurate.

The jab has also gone to 96.4% of frontline NHS staff, 89.4% of the clinically extremely vulnerable and 89.6% of older care home residents.

All over-50s and "at risk" groups – 32million people – are due to have at least their first dose by mid-April, after which the remaining 21million UK adults will start getting the jab.

  • Coronavirus
  • Lockdown
  • NHS

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