A national blanket lockdown could be reimposed in the UK, the health secretary has warned, on the day several restrictions were lifted in England.

Matt Hancock said the government's aim was to move forward in the battle with coronavirus by introducing local lockdowns for regional flare-ups but said a blanket lockdown could be reimposed "if that is necessary".

The health secretary claimed the government was "getting this virus under control", but warned the "disease is not done yet" as he urged people to continue with social distancing.

“We are attempting to move the system from these national, blanket measures to a more targeted approach – this is why test and trace is such an important part of that.

“But we have always said that we are prepared to reintroduce measures – whether that is nationally or in response to a localised outbreak – if that is necessary.”

He said a "Joint Biosecurity Centre" would have a big role in helping to decide on local lockdowns, but admitted the body is not yet up and running.

The centre - tasked with assessing the Covid-19 alert level - is "being formulated at the moment”, he said.

An example of a local lockdown could be “shutting to new admissions a hospital A&E if there was an outbreak in that hospital”, he said.

Local directors of public health would work with regional Public Health England and NHS teams “to make sure we got the response right”.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre would have a national role “to provide the advice and the information that would then be acted on locally”.

He said the decision to relax lockdown on Monday had been made "very carefully" and "we mustn’t throw away the progress that has been made."

"We’ve come so far together, we can take these steps together, but do not step too far," he said.

Mr Hancock said the test and trace system, launched last Thursday, had traced the “vast majority” of new infections and their contacts and insisted it was "up and running."

However ITV News spoke to a contact tracer who said no one she spoke to have been in touch with anyone.

"We have apparently 8,000 new cases, but where are they?," she said.

"We're not talking to them, there are about 3,000 of me but nobody I have spoken to has had any one to talk to."

At the suggestion there were more tracers than new infections, Mr Hancock said: "To err on the side of having too many contact tracers is the right side to err on."

Testing tsar John Newton said: “The numbers of tests feeding through and contacts being identified are high, so we are very pleased with the level of completeness. It’s operating pretty much as we had hoped.

“Of course, of the numbers of new cases, not all of them need to go into the contact tracing process – so if it’s a case in a care home of somebody who is already part of a known outbreak or if the case is already known to the public health service then they don’t need to be contact traced.”

He said the numbers of contacts were less than modellers had forecast but were quite similar to the trials on the Isle of Wight.

“In lockdown, of course, people do not have that many close contacts outside their household,” he said.

The total number of people who have died after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK has risen to 39,045, Mr Hancock confirmed at the press conference.

The figure was up by 556 from the 38,489 deaths announced on Sunday but Mr Hancock said the figures had increased by only 111.

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