Coronavirus news: Matt Hancock says tier restrictions could end in weeks | UK | News (Reports)

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England left its second national lockdown on December 2 only for harsher versions of the tier system to be imposed across the country. More than 99 percent of the country have been placed in the two highest tiers.

There has been a glimmer of hope over recent days after the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Now the Health Secretary has said the administering of the vaccine to Britons this week could bring about an end of the restrictions in the first three months of next year.

Mr Hancock said: “There’s no doubt that having the vaccine early will bring forward the moment when we can get rid of these blasted restrictions, but until then we have got to follow them.

“Help is on its way.”

The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the jab, enough to vaccinate 20 million people, with 800,000 doses expected to arrive by next week.

Britain has also ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, with 40 million expected to be delivered by March.

This vaccine has yet to be approved by the MHRA.

Care homes and the elderly are set to be the first people to be given the vaccine and Mr Hancock said it is likely to happen in January and February.

READ MORE: Immunity passports ARE being discussed: Fears of ‘dangerous precedent’

“But the more people you vaccinate, the more lives you save and the fewer people who die, the sooner you can lift the restrictions – it’s as simple as that.”

However, the Coronavirus Recovery Group – which campaigns against tough lockdown restrictions – has urged the Government to not wait until all age groups are vaccinated to ease measures.

Mark Harper, the chairman of the group which includes around 70 Tory MPs, told The Telegraph: “As the vaccine is rolled out and the most vulnerable are protected, the Government should begin our national renewal by reducing the crippling restrictions on our economy and society.

“Given the enormous costs of these restrictions, both in terms of individual lives and livelihoods, the faster this can be done, safely, is crucial as we weak to repair our country’s physical and economic health.

“If we have vaccinated those we are most vulnerable to Covid by then, why wait until Easter?”

A supporter of Mr Harper urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to channel “his optimism” as soon as possible.

They said: “If we wait until every 20 or 30 year old has had a vaccine before we remove restrictions, our economy may well resemble a Soviet relic.

“Boris must channel his optimism into this country’s next chapter as soon as possible.”

This week, the National Cyber Security Centre warned Britons to be aware of cybercriminals offering fake, quick routes to the front of the vaccine queue.

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