Local lockdown not ruled out in Bolton amid Indian variant spread – Hancock

·2-min read

Restrictive measures in Bolton are not being ruled out, Matt Hancock said as he vowed the Government will do what is “necessary to protect people” amid concerns over the spread of the Indian coronavirus variant.

The Health Secretary said the “vast majority” of people in the town who are in hospital with the new variant had been eligible for the Covid vaccine but have not taken it.

He said five people who have had a single jab have been taken to hospital with the Indian variant in Bolton, while one patient has received both doses.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that the person who has had both doses is “frail”.

Asked if anyone has died with the Indian variant after receiving two jabs, Mr Hancock said: “Not that we’re aware of.”

He signalled the Government is prepared to implement a local lockdown in Bolton if one is deemed necessary.

Asked on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme about the prospect of specific areas having different restrictions compared to the rest of the country to deal with the risk posed by Covid-19 variants, Mr Hancock said: “We do not rule that out.”

He said the approach being taken in Bolton and Blackburn “is to absolutely pile-in testing and vaccinations to try to get on top of this”.

People queue for vaccination
Mass testing and vaccination is being stepped up in Bolton (PA)

Mr Hancock added: “We’ve put in a huge amount of testing, we’ve reinforced that with Army personnel as well, and we’re expanding the vaccination programme – especially for those second jabs which are the best protection against ending up in hospital.”

On the prospect of further action, he said: “At the moment we’re taking the approach that worked in south London – which is this massive surge testing – but of course we don’t rule out further action.

“Given though Bolton has been in some form of kind of a lockdown for a year, it’s not a step we want to take but of course we might have to take it and we will if it’s necessary to protect people.”

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