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The latest COVID-19 news as millions download the NHS Test and Trace app, the 10pm curfew is enforced and daily cases spike.

The health secretary defends the government’s 10pm curfew on restaurants, bars and pubs.

Mr Hancock says the government “always looks at the effects of these policies” and he’s got to take into account all factors, including whether the levels of social distancing at venues would continue all through the night if they were to stay open.

“One of the reasons that we brought in this policy is because we saw it work in other countries,” he says.

“None of these interventions on social distancing are ones we want to put in place – the question is how we keep control of the virus in the best possible way while reducing the impact on the economy and education.”

‘Letting the virus rip’ would cause too many deaths for the health secretary to bear

The government has recently faced ongoing questions about whether restrictions should be placed on the whole community or be more targeted towards the vulnerable. Addressing this issue in the Commons, Mr Hancock says the virus has shown “beyond all possible doubt” that the health of one of us begets the health of all.

“And so the central question about the control of the virus is, without a doubt in my mind – and this is a question I ask myself every day – how do we best keep people safe from this virus whilst protecting liberty and livelihoods and the things that make life worth living?

“And I believe that in reality there is not a simple trade-off… because the exponential growth of the virus means in reality there are only two parts, either to control the virus or let it slip. Because once the virus is growing it accelerates and I am convinced that no matter how effective we protect the vulnerable – and of course protect them we must – letting the virus rip would leave a death toll too big to bear. And in reality the only question is how to control the virus and when to put measures in place.”

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