Robert Buckland unveils coronavirus vaccine priority system – ‘They have to come first’
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Robert Buckland said Health Secretary Matt Hancock will announce a priority list for people set to receive the coronavirus vaccine once one becomes available later in the week. International efforts to create a suitable inoculation have been ongoing, with 40 researchers now testing 40 vaccines in clinical trials on humans. Speaking to BBC Breakfast, the Justice Secretary confirmed a full list will be soon released as he hinted at groups the Government is seeking to designate as a priority.
Mr Buckland said: “NHS workers have to be at the top of the list, and they always have been. And then the social care sector must be prioritised too.
“And, bearing in mind the importance of education, I think schools and the welfare of staff, and indeed of children, is also very important.
“That has a knock-on effect to the working lives of their parents and carers. I can see a very sensible outline coming, the Health Secretary will be responsible for the detail.
“But I think people can imagine we will be putting the NHS at the heart of this.”
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The announcement comes as the Government faces growing pressure to solve major issues to its testing systems after days of people being unable to both book tests and receive their results in good time.
Mr Buckland conceded the system has been struggling but insisted efforts are being focused in ensuring the “huge challenge” is met with success.
He said: “We have got a lot of work to do. I’m not shying away from that at all.
“There are, of course, huge positives in the in-person test. Ninety percent of those are being returned in a day, that’s great.
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“But, clearly, when it comes to the tests you have to post out and the delayed response, there is much more work to be done. I’m not denying that for a moment.
“We’re listening and acting upon the concerns of everybody who’s getting in touch and telling us about the problems they are experiencing.”
Matt Hancock also insisted he is working alongside NHS staff to ensure the necessary tests is available to anyone in need but admitted weeks may pass before the system in under control.
The admission came as the UK recorded 3,105 new COVID-19 infections amid a resurgence of the virus across the UK.
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Health officials in Bolton have been urging people to head to the A&E only if they have been involved in a life-threatening accident or suffering from serious illness.
The Greater Manchester town is one of Britain’s largest coronavirus hotspots after public health reported the equivalent of 192 news cases per 100,000 people in the week to September 10.
Bolton NHS Foundation Trust medical director Dr Francis Andrews said: “We are seeing more people being admitted with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 as a result of the very high rate of infections in Bolton.
“This is not a shift we want to see. The situation at the hospital is under control and we were well prepared for this.
“However the rate continuing to rise is of concern, and we continue to urge the people of Bolton to consider others when making decisions that could jeopardise their safety.”
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