Matt Hancock is speaking to MPs in the House of Commons.
He starts his statement by reiterating many of the stats we heard last night – including that 1 in 60 adults in England received a jab at the weekend and all eligible care homes, some 10,307, have been offered vaccines.
He says that today the Government published new guidelines outlining how MPs can help to increase the take-up of jabs in their area. He says that uptake is “directly linked” to how quickly life can return to normal.
Mr Hancock also addresses the roll out of mass testing to try to contain the South Africa variant – at least 105 cases have so far been identified across the UK. Today local authorities started to test some 80,000 people in eight areas.
He says that testing will also be boosted in Liverpool and Bristol – where 11 and 32 “mutations of concern” have been identified respectively.
“The message is more important than ever: stay at home, maintain social distancing and get tested… we must all keep at it.”
On testing, the Health Secretary says that more and more employers are rolling out mass testing at work – including in Parliament (see previous post).
Mr Hancock ends with a note on HIV. It is currently HIV test week and he urges people to get tested for the virus. He also wishes Lord Norman Fowler a happy 83rd birthday – he was key in efforts to raise awareness about the disease in the 1980s.
The Health Secretary sasy the UK aims to eradicate transmission of HIV/Aids by the end of the decade. The fight against the virus demonstrates that “even when faced with a mountain of challenges, science, ingenuity and a mountain of effort” can lead us forward, Mr Hancock says.