Matt Hancock said he has seen the ‘first credible’ instances of coronavirus reinfections, but says a second wave of the virus is ‘not inevitable’.
Speaking in front of the Health and Social Care Committee today (September 8), the health secretary said that instances of reinfections of the virus had started to emerge, but that all had been asymptomatic cases.
‘We have just started to see the first credible cases of reinfection and we can see from genomic analysis that it’s a different disease to the one the person got the first time round.
‘In all cases that I have seen it has been an asymptotic second infection that has been picked up through asymptomatic testing.
‘Because one of the most difficult parts of dealing with this virus is asymptomatic transmission what we don’t yet know is the transmissibility of the disease even from an asymptomatic person who might have had the disease before.
‘But we have got a huge amount of work going into answering that question.’
The health secretary’s comments come after the UK recorded nearly 3,000 new cases of coronavirus.
When asked if the UK could be heading for a second wave of the virus, the cabinet minister said he was ‘obviously concerned’ by the spike in positive cases.
‘There is no inevitability to a second peak.
‘It depends on the actions that all of us take.
‘Of course, in government, we’re concerned about this and we keep all options open, but everybody has a part to play.
‘The first line of defence is socially distancing. The next line is testing a tracing and that system is radically stronger than it was.
‘The third line of defense is local action. I have taken robust action areas where there are local spikes.
‘It is so important that people take their responsibility seriously and do not become relaxed about this virus. We’ve seen in other countries if you don’t take a second spike seriously then it can lead to very serious problems down the track.’
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