PRITI Patel has warned Brits the national Covid lockdown has ‘a long way to go’ before being lifted.
The Home Secretary said with the UK’s Covid vaccine rollout at a ‘pivotal stage’ now is ‘not the time’ to discuss lifting measures.
Priti Patel has warned the UK has ‘a long way to go’ before lifting lockdownCredit: refer to caption.
The UK’s vaccination rollout aims for 13.5m to be offered a jab by mid-FebruaryCredit: ©Eddie Mulholland
The Government is currently aiming to vaccinate around 13.5 million of the most vulnerable Brits by mid-February.
Foreign minister Dominic Raab had previously said restrictions could begin to lift around three weeks later, once the jab has been given time to build a strong resistance for the over-70s and some frontline workers.
But Ms Patel appeared to pour cold water on hopes of measures being lifted in the near future.
She told Sky News: “I should emphasise it is far too early to even speculate as to when lockdown measures will be eased and the restrictions will go. We are still in a perilous situation.
“When we still see hospitalisation figures now standing at over 38,000 people, with the number of people still dying of Coronavirus, with the number of hospital admissions still 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 which is why you see me out with the police talking about the work we constantly do around compliance and enforcement. “
She added cabinet ministers would not even discuss easing lockdown until the top four categories of vulnerable Brits have received the jab.
According to latest figures, that target could miss its mid-February deadline after recent supply issues have seen a drop in the number of people being vaccinated.
She said: “We are at a pivotal stage. Our vaccine rollout is under way but we have a long way to go with vaccination.
“We cannot talk about easing restrictions and measures until we are absolutely clear we have vaccinated priority groups.”
The number of Brits receiving a vaccination has dropped in recent days
Meanwhile, the daily death toll hit a new high of 1,610 yesterday
Schools are currently shut and Brits are living under strict ‘Stay At Home’ orders in the latest national lockdown, which came into force at the start of this month.
Hopes of a quick route out of lockdown have been dealt a blow by recent vaccination figures.
Medics in England carried out 170,900 jabs on Tuesday – well below the daily record of 324,711 vaccinations dished out last Friday.
And it is significantly lower than the number of jabs carried out last Wednesday and Thursday, which were around 250,000 and 275,000 respectively.
Worrying data shows the number of Brits getting vaccinated against coronavirus has fallen for the third day in a row.
Dr Duncan Robertson, an analyst at Loughborough University, said: “The number vaccinated has fallen for three successive days.
“It would be useful to know what the vaccine supply schedule is over the next weeks and months, and the reason for this decrease.”
Boris Johnson has vowed to continue to ramp up the vaccination programme to hit his target of jabbing 13.5m Brits by mid February.
He has warned that the lockdown can only be lifted once the life-saving jab has gone into enough arms.
But the numbers will fuel worries that after a lightning quick start, the programme is hitting major problems.