Matt Hancock Warns Second Coronavirus Wave Is 'Starting To Roll Across Europe'
The UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned that a second coronavirus wave is 'starting to roll across Europe'.
A sharp rise in cases in areas of Spain has seen the Government reintroduce quarantine measures for people arriving in the UK from the country, and Hancock admitted he was 'worried' about the threat of a second wave.
Speaking to Sky News, he said: "I am worried about a second wave. I think you can see a second wave starting to roll across Europe and we've got to do everything we can to prevent it from reaching these shores and to tackle it.
"The measures that the Chief Medical Officer will set out later are part of that. But so too are the measures we're taking, for instance to ensure that we don't directly bring cases back to this country where there's a big spike in cases.
"So absolutely on a second wave it is something I worry about and I worry about it because we can see it happening."
The Chief Medical Officer is expected to announce later that people who show symptoms in England will now have to self-isolate for 10 days rather than seven - though it is not clear whether this will also apply in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Hancock also defended the Government's decision to reintroduce quarantine measures for people travelling from Spain - a move that has been heavily criticised by holidaymakers and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, with the country's tourism industry heavily reliant on travellers from the UK.
Speaking to Times Radio, Hancock said: "We have seen the case rate in Spain go up sharply. That is why we had to take the action that we did.
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"We moved fast on Spain and I am very glad we did. Since we took the action we did, the case rate has continued to rise.
"We need to make sure we protect everybody in this country from the virus coming back again from Europe as it did in March."
But while Hancock stood by the reintroduction of quarantine measures in this instance, he said the Government was looking at whether this self-isolation period after arriving in the UK from overseas could be reduced going forwards.
"We want to take a precautionary approach"
Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, tells #BBCBreakfast the Chief Medical Officer will later announce changes to self-isolation rules in England.https://t.co/uQ3lkefq4w pic.twitter.com/ly4jGk9hSh
- BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) July 30, 2020
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said: "We are working on whether, by testing people during that quarantine, it is safe to then be able to release them earlier. Again, this is a really important, essentially scientific, clinical question.
"So that's something we are working on, but we are not imminently making an announcement on it because that work is not concluded. And until it is absolutely safe to make that sort of change, then we won't do so. But it is something that we're working on.
"There are some countries in the world who do that but you've got to be absolutely certain you can track the people who come in, make sure they get the test, get the test result, and crucially that the likelihood of them having incubated it for longer than before you do the second test - that likelihood is very very low."
He added: "We have asked the scientists to do that work and they're doing that work, but we're not ready to change that policy.
"We won't be making changes on that in the next few days."
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