The 10-day self-isolation requirement for people who come into contact with someone infected with Covid-19 is to be scrapped for those who are fully vaccinated.
Replaced by lateral flow tests
The 10-day quarantine period for Covid-19 contacts could be axed in favour of daily lateral flow tests instead.
The UK government is currently piloting the approach to check if it will be effective, with Mr Hancock confirming “it is something that we’re working on”.
Mr Hancock stressed that the government is not ready to scrap the quarantine requirement just yet, but is planning to introduce the new approach “as soon as it’s reasonable to do so”.
He said: “We are looking at the data, and we’ve said that we’ll take a specific look two weeks into the four-week delay that we had to put in place to get more people vaccinated, so we’ll do that.
“But I have every confidence that the more people get vaccinated, the easier it is (and) the safer it is to lift restrictions.
“We had to have the delay in order to get more people vaccinated, especially those second vaccines to protect people, we’re being careful, we’re being cautious.
“But I have a high degree of confidence that this vaccine is going to get us out of this, and the more people who come forward, the easier that will be.”
“So we are getting there. We’re not quite there yet but we’re getting there and you can see it in the data, you can see the protection that people are getting.”
19 July lockdown end still on track
The Health Secretary also dismissed suggestions that remaining restrictions in England are likely to be lifted before the new date of 19 July, but added that experts will examine the figures shortly.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had originally set the so-called ‘Freedom Day’ in England for 21 June, when all legal coronavirus restrictions were due to be lifted
However, as yet measures are not expected to be lifted before the planned date in late July.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said on Monday (21 June) that it is “unlikely” that restrictions in England will be lifted before the new July date, saying he does not expect the two-week review to lead to an earlier relaxation.
Speaking to Sky News, he said: “I would always err on the side of caution and I would look to July 19. It could be before but I think that is unlikely.
“Generally we have stuck to the dates we have set. I think now I am very focused on July 19.”
The comments come as more than one million second Covid-19 jabs have been administered to people over the age of 50 in just 10 days.
In addition, a total of 1,008,472 Covid-19 vaccine appointments were booked through the NHS England booking service over the weekend, after the programme was extended to all remaining adults. This amounts to an average of more than 21,000 every hour, or six every second.
Four in five adults have now received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, with three in five now fully vaccinated, according to NHS England.