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Mirror Coronavirus Briefing
Coronavirus is ‘back under control’
Welcome to today’s briefing
Matt Hancock tonight declared that Covid-19 is “back under control” in England.
The Health Secretary said the national lockdown restrictions were working as figures showed Coronavirus infections are down 30% in England and have halved in the North during lockdown.
“This is good news, it shows the national restrictions have been successful. We have got this virus back under control,” he said.
But he warned “we must be vigilant.”
He also suggested that some Tier 3 areas could be moved to Tier 2 before Christmas if infection rates fall.
Mr Hancock also announced plans to roll out community testing to more Tier 3 areas.
The Health Secretary did not say which areas would be first in line for Liverpool-style testing but said they had already received requests from the West Midlands, Redcar, Warwickshire and the Medway.
He said the 30-minute tests would catch those with Covid as well as those who are not displaying symptoms.
The latest study shows the national R rate was estimated to be 0.88 – putting it below 1 for the first time since August, with the virus halving every 37 days.
Downing Street hopes its new harsher tiering system – to come into place from Wednesday – will be crucial in safeguarding these gains, bringing down infections