Thursday, 4 Jun 2020

'Can't rule out' further lockdown measures, Matt Hancock says

Matt Hancock has said the length of coronavirus lockdown is ‘entirely dependent’ on people staying inside and ‘following the rules’.

After warning earlier that outdoor exercise could be banned if people continue to ignore rules regarding social distancing, the health secretary told a press conference at Downing Street that measures will not be tightened ‘imminently’.

He said: ‘I understand that people are yearning to know how long this will last, the answer is entirely dependent on how much people follow the rules. Following the rules is now “mission critical”.

‘We know exercise is good for our physical and mental health – but do not bend or break this rule – we can’t rule out further steps.’ He added: ‘We’re not planning any changes to these rules imminently, but we do absolutely require people to follow them.’

‘The more people follow the rules the faster we will all be through it. By ignoring them, you’re risking your own life and the lives of others and you’re making it harder for us all.

The health secretary – who has returned to work after suffering from coronavirus last week – said: ‘My emphatic requirement of people which is backed up by law is to follow the rules we’ve set out to make sure people stay at home – that this the number one thing you can do.

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‘We’ve set out four exemptions and people should stay at home unless it’s one of those four exemptions, and one of them alone.’

Dr Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officer for England, said the government is trying to get the balance right around physical and mental health needs.

She said: ‘One of the issues is around behaviour…it’s not just the “what” are you doing it’s the “how” are you doing it.’

‘If you’re sat on a park bench people tend to accumulate. There are very clear reasons we set the rules as they are and we want people to follow those rules.’

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