Matt Hancock refuses to rule out second lockdown as coronavirus infections rise

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock has refused to rule out a second coronavirus lockdown, despite assurances by the Prime Minister.

Speaking to LBC on Wednesday morning, Mr Hancock said: "Our goal is to avoid having to do anything more drastic by people following the rules."

But he would not rule out a return to lockdown, saying: "I wouldn't make a vow like that.

"You wouldn't expect me to – I am the Health Secretary in the middle of a pandemic where we are trying to keep the country safe."

But he added he "hoped" lockdown could be avoided, saying: "The number of cases is largely driven by people socialising."

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Mr Hancock's comments come ahead of a hastily-arranged Downing Street press conference in which Boris Johnson will explain the details of the latest social distancing measures.

On Tuesday it was announced that gatherings of more than six people will become illegal in England from September 14.

The emergency policy is an attempt to control the virus as multiple areas around the country struggle with serious outbreaks, sparking fears of a second wave this autumn.

Last month it was reported that Mr Johnson had ordered officials to devise a plan to avoid a second national lockdown, including asking the elderly to shield and putting London back into lockdown.

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  • Coronavirus

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