Hancock halts statement to praise Diane Abbott for her ‘pivotal role’ in vaccine rollout

Matt Hancock praises Abbott for role in vaccine uptake drive

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Diane Abbott joined James Cleverly, David Lammy and many other black MPs in a video to try and increase the uptake of the coronavirus vaccine among ethnic minorities. Matt Hancock fielded a question from Diane Abbott and used his time to thank her for helping with the video. Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi was concerned that there has been a noticeable lack of administered vaccines for ethnic minority groups. 

Ms Abbott asked the Health Secretary to implement more measures to protect ethnic groups. 

She was concerned many would be left behind as figures show while 85 percent of adults are “very likely” to have the jab, the remaining 15 percent are noticeably made up of BAME communities.

The Labour MP added: “It would be a tragedy that black and ethnic minorities who are on the front line against coronavirus as health and social care workers if there was an increased death toll because enough wasn’t being done to encourage the take-up of the vaccine.”

The Royal College of GPs found 90 percent of all vaccines administered so far were given to white people. 

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Mr Hancock used the opportunity to give praise to Ms Abbott.

He said: “I don’t say this lightly, but I agree with every single word that the right honourable lady said and I want to pay tribute to her. 

“Because I haven’t had the chance in the house to thank all members of the house who took part in the incredibly moving video from black MPs in order to persuade people who may have understandable concerns that taking the jab is the right thing to do. 

“She played a pivotal role in that short video and it is just a small part of a huge effort we need to go through because the fewer people who don’t have the protection the safer we will all be. 

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“And I am grateful for her support and I hope that we can continue to work together to drive up uptake among black communities across this country.”

Mr Hancock revealed at his parliament appearance that visitors from the UK’s 33 red-list countries would have to pay £1,750 to quarantine in hotels. 

Currently, 16 hotels with 4,600 rooms have been secured by the Government. 

Travellers will stay at the hotels for ten days and will receive regular testing throughout their stay. 

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Those who do not test negatively 72-hours before their flight to the UK will face a £1,000 fine on arrival.  

Anyone who does not quarantine in a hotel after being instructed will be hit with a £5,000 fine which will rise to £10,000.

Many were concerned that the UK’s border rules could be broken simply by lying about where you have been or using different journeys to hide where you originated from. 

Mr Hancock announced anyone lying about not visiting a red-list country could face ten years in jail. 

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