The NHS is considering plans to discharge patients into hotels as hospitals become swamped with COVID patients, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed – as he said it was “impossible to know” how long lockdown restrictions might last.

Mr Hancock told Sky News that the government would “look at all options” to relieve pressures on the NHS.

“In some cases, people need step-down care, they don’t actually need to be in a hospital bed,” he said.

Some Conservative MPs are putting pressure on ministers to begin easing England’s third national lockdown from 8 March.

But the health secretary said it was “impossible to know” how long the restrictions might have to be in place for.

“We will keep the restrictions in place not a moment longer than they are necessary, but we will keep them in place as long as they’re necessary,” Mr Hancock said.


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