UK Health Secy urges vigilance amid vaccine hopes

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has urged Britons to “remain vigilant” despite looming hopes for a vaccine against the novel coronavirus and keep abiding by the restrictions currently in place rules to curb the resurgence of new cases.

“Until the science can make us safe we must remain vigilant and keep following the rules that we know can keep this virus under control,” Xinhua news agency quoted Hancock as saying at a virtual press briefing at the Downing Street on Monday.

“While there is much uncertainty, we can see the candle of hope and we must do all that we can to nurture its flame… But we’re not there yet,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Health Secretary also stressed the importance of mass testing in tackling the pandemic.

Two new testing “mega labs” will open in early 2021, which will add 600,000 to Britain’s daily testing capacity and offer a “massive diagnostic capacity” that should last well into the future, said Hancock.

He added that the National Health Service (NHS) will launch a network of more than 40 specialist clinics within weeks to help people coping with the so-called “long Covid”, which refers to enduring coroanvirus symptoms like continuing fatigue, brain fog, breathlessness and pain.

The condition is thought to affect more than 60,000 people in the UK, according the NHS.

England is currently under a month-long national lockdown until December 2, the second of its kind since the onset of the pandemic which has so far infected 1,394,299 people across the UK and killed 52,240 others.

The UK is the first European nation to record more than 50,000 coronavirus deaths.

It is the fifth country in the world to hit the tragic milestone, following the US, Brazil, India and Mexico.