Matt Hancock Says Government Will Enforce 'Local Lockdowns'
Matt Hancock said that regional lockdowns will be likely to be considered, where there are flare-ups in local areas.
The Health Secretary revealed the news in today's coronavirus briefing, as part of the NHS' new 'Test and Trace' system, which will aim to bring the country out of lockdown in as safe a way as possible.
It will mean that when coronavirus cases rise in certain areas, the public will be asked to stay at home and continue to social distance.
Boris Johnson previously hinted at the strategy in a statement on 11 May, and said that steps would be taken on a regional basis.
The PM said: "The intention is that the Covid alert system, in time, will be sufficiently sensitive and flexible to detect local flare-ups."
The system - which has been tested on the Isle of Wight - involves contact tracing and tracking via a smartphone app upon which people who have developed symptoms of Covid-19 can register that.
The phone app will then use 'proximity information' logged securely on the devices, and Bluetooth signal to register people's interactions, in order to trace any contacts that the symptomatic person may have been involved in.
It was initially said to have been rolled out by the middle of May, but the app is still thought to be in development.
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Mr Hancock also revealed that anti-viral drug Remdesivir is being trialled, describing it as 'the biggest step forward' for the UK's treatment for Covid-19.
The drug has been used against other infections, such as Ebola, and has been approved by UK regulators, who say there is enough evidence to use it in hospitals. It's said to cut the recovery time by up to four days.
However, there are limited supplies at the moment, meaning it would only be used in selected cases.
Mr Hancock stood firm when asked about Dominic Cummings, saying that he believes he acted within the guidelines set out by the government. He also said that the government will discuss refunding fines given out during lockdown to people who were travelling for childcare.
However, he didn't confirm if that would include visiting tourist attractions.
Despite more than 30 Tory MPs calling for Mr Cummings to resign, as well as the resignation of a Scottish MP, Boris Johnson and other Conservative ministers are standing by his actions. They say that Cummings' 260 mile trip to Durham and visit to Barnard Castle were justified.
Featured Image Credit: BBC