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Health Minister Matt Hancock asks anti-racism protesters not to take part in demonstrations


Health Minister Matt Hancock asks anti-racism protesters not to attend demonstrations as he warns that the coronavirus "lives on social contact regardless of what may be causing it."

  • Matt Hancock urged anti-racism activists not to take part in demonstrations
  • He said he understood that "people want to show their passion for something"
  • But coronavirus "lives on social contact regardless of its cause"
  • Here's how you can help people affected by Covid-19

Health Minister Matt Hancock today asked anti-racism protesters not to take part in mass demonstrations because he warned the coronavirus "thrives on social contact regardless of its cause."

Mr. Hancock told the daily press conference on Downing Street that he understood that people "want to show their passion for something that is very dear to them."

However, he emphasized that the government's current social distancing rules limit group meetings to no more than six people, and the two-meter limit must still be observed.

He said that "for the safety of your loved ones" people should follow the rules and not take part in big protests.

His comments came after a statue of slave trader Edward Colston, which was torn down during an anti-racism demonstration last weekend, was lifted out of Bristol harbor.

Meanwhile, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council said it is planned to temporarily remove a statue of the scout founder Robert Baden-Powell from Poole Quay because it fears that protesters will attack it.

Health Minister Matt Hancock today urged demonstrators not to take part in mass demonstrations, saying he was risking an increase in the coronavirus

The government released its first statistics today, detailing the initial performance of the NHS test and trace program.

The data showed that approximately 8,117 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in England had submitted their case to the NHS system, of whom 5,407 (67 percent) were reached, while 2,710 (33 percent) had no information about theirs Contacts delivered or could not be reached.

A total of 31,794 contacts were identified, of which 26,985 were reached and recommended to isolate themselves – 85 percent of the total number of contacts.

Of the remaining 15 percent (4,809), some were not met, others said they were already taking measures independently of the system, and some simply refused to adhere to them.

Mr. Hancock said the numbers showed that the program already had an impact on the fight against the coronavirus when he praised people for their isolation when asked to do so.

He continued: “It's great that the vast majority of people have done their civic duty. Once we've worked through our plan and continue to fight this virus, let's keep the spirit and strength that helped us during this pandemic.

“And of course that includes not attending large gatherings, including demonstrations by more than six people.

“I understand that people want to show their passion for something that is very important to them.

“But this is a virus that lives on social contact, regardless of its cause.

"Please stay vigilant for the safety of your loved ones, control the virus and save lives."

There have been numerous protests against racism across the UK in recent days. During a protest on Sunday, the statue of Colston was overturned and thrown into the harbor.

Bristol City Council has posted a video clip of the monument being fished out of the water this morning on Twitter.

It was tweeted: “This morning we got the statue of Colston from the port of Bristol.

"It will be brought to a safe place before it later becomes part of our museum collection."

It came when Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council said it was planned to temporarily remove the Baden-Powell statue from Poole Quay because it was feared that it could be attacked by activists.

The council said it wanted to "minimize the risk of public disturbance or anti-social behavior that could result if the statue stayed on site" while the views on Lord Baden-Powell were shared.

Council President Vikki Slade said in a statement released on Wednesday: “Although we are famous for creating the Boy Scouts, we also recognize that there are some aspects of Robert Baden-Powell's life that are considered less memorable.

"We are therefore removing the statue so that we can properly involve all relevant communities and groups in discussions about their future, including whether a more instructive account of his life in a different environment could be more appropriate."

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