Matt Hancock press conference: Health Sec to address nation from No10 after papers leaked

Helen Whately quizzed by host on allowing care home visitors

The Health Secretary will address the nation to announce all older residents in care homes have now been offered a coronavirus jab. The huge step forward in the vaccine rollout comes as a leaked Cabinet Office paper indicates the number of coronavirus infections across the UK is now “stabilising”.

The immunisation of care home residents a key moment in the Government’s rollout of the jab programme, with the NHS on target to have given a first dose of the vaccine to the top four most vulnerable groups by February 15.

Mr Hancock said that four fifths of over-80s have now received their first dose of the vaccine, alongside three quarters of those aged between 75 and 79.

Almost nine million people in Britain have now received a Covid jab, meaning 17 percent of the adult population have been inoculated.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the news on care homes as a “crucial milestone” in the fight against coronavirus.

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Mr Johnson said: “Today marks a crucial milestone in our ongoing race to vaccinate the most vulnerable against this deadly disease.

“We said we would prioritise and protect care home residents, and that is exactly what we have done.”

He said the rollout “will only accelerate from here on”, after the daily number of jabs administered in the UK exceeded 500,000 for the first time over the weekend.

Figures released yesterday indicated 598,389 people were given a jab on Saturday.

Only in a small minority of care homes where there is currently an outbreak of coronavirus have jabs not been given to residents.

NHS England’s primary care director Dr Nikki Kanani said: “I want to thank my colleagues, and everyone involved in the vaccine rollout for their extraordinary work in recent weeks, as it is because of their tireless efforts that millions of people have already been vaccinated, including hundreds of thousands of care home residents, and as a result we are a vital step further in our fight against Covid-19.

“It has been a privilege to vaccinate some of the most vulnerable people and the wonderful people who look after them.

“Many have had little contact with the outside world throughout the pandemic and so it has been truly humbling for all, giving them hope and importantly protection against the disease.”

More to follow…

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