Matt Hancock hints pubs may close again as he says announcement due ‘very soon’

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Health secretary Matt Hancock has hinted pubs may be forced to close once again this weekend in response to the UK's recent surge in coronavirus cases.

In an interview on ITV'sThis Morning, Matt Hancock was asked whether Brits will be able to go to the pub this weekend by host Phillip Schofield.

The Health Secretary replied that an announcement will be made in the "very, very near future".

“We will be absolutely clear about the changes we need to make in the very, very near future,” Mr Hancock said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to address the nation on Tuesday amid mounting concern about the rise in the number of Covid-19 cases.

Mr Hancock said his answer on pubs was “not a no, and it’s not a yes”, adding: “We have been working on this all weekend, we haven’t taken the final decisions about what we need to do in response to the surge that we have seen in the last few weeks.”

Mr Hancock added: "I spoke to the Prime Minister this morning and he's as worried as we all are in the rise in the number of cases and we have to make a final decision about what's the best response to that."

In a wide-ranging interview, the health secretary also revealed he is sleeping fine at night as he is "doing everything he possibly can" to stop the spread of the deadly illness.

He also said he wanted Christmas to be "as normal as possible" and suggested that a vaccine may be widely available in early 2021.

But the health secretary warned that he hopes things will start to return to normal in summer 2021 – but only if a working vaccine is found.

It comes as the UK’s chief scientists are reportedly due to warn Brits of a “critical point” in the coronavirus crisis.

Prof Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance will publish the latest data on Covid-19 and tell people to prepare themselves for a “very challenging” winter, the Daily Mirror reports.

Supermarket bosses including Tesco and Sainsbury’s have also urged Brits not to panic buy as a second coronavirus wave threatens another nationwide lockdown.

Big chains are desperate to avoid panic buying – an issue all stores had the first time the UK shut up amid the pandemic.

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  • ITV
  • This Morning
  • Pubs
  • Coronavirus
  • Lockdown

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