‘They disappeared!’ BBC’s Kuenssberg quizzes Hancock as Brazil variant manhunt underway

Matt Hancock: Link between hospitalisations and deaths is 'breaking'

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The BBC’s Political Editor grilled the Health Secretary on whether the UK could have implemented stricter coronavirus restrictions sooner. Matt Hancock stated that the Government already had a ban on direct travel into the UK from Brazil in place.

Ms Kuenssberg said: “Someone carrying the Brazilian variant was able to disappear weeks after the variant was first detected because the Government had not got round to introducing quarantine hotels.

“Do you believe that the delay will have put people at risk?”

Mr Hancock replied: “The answer is no, we had quarantine already in place.

“In fact, we had already put in place a ban on direct travel from Brazil.

“Also, those who are not citizens or residents here could not come.

“All the evidence is that the five cases that we know about followed those quarantine rules.

“I hope that is very reassuring to people.”

He continued: “There is no evidence that the sixth case did not follow those quarantine rules.

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“We need to obviously get in contact with the person.

“This positive test was on February 12 or 13 and we have not seen any other further knock-on transmissions in the data that we obviously monitor very closely.”

The Health Secretary added: “All of that points to the work that has been done and the system that was in place has managed to control this.”

“Obviously, since then we have introduced further and stricter measures, the hotel quarantine as you mentioned, to strengthen the system further.”

More to follow…

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