UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that he hoped the roll-out of a vaccine would see life go back to “normal” by Easter.

Mr Hancock told a joint session of the Health and Social Care Committee and Science and Technology Committee: “After Easter, we think we will be getting back to normal.

“Now, there are some things that are ‘no regrets’, right? Washing your hands more and some parts of social distancing are no-regrets things that, I think, will become commonplace.

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“But those damaging social distancing interventions that have downsized, whether economic or social downsides in terms of our wellbeing, I should hope that we can lift those after Easter if these two vaccines are approved by the regulator, which of course is an independent decision for the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency).”

He added that he does not expect another national lockdown to happen.

“I very much hope not to by having a tiered system which is calibrated to be able to bring the virus under control, where that’s necessary,” he told the Health and Social Care Select Committee.

Downing Street said the Government still wanted a UK-wide approach to the relaxation of restrictions over Christmas.

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Ahead of a Cobra meeting with the leaders of the devolved administrations chaired by Michael Gove, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We have been clear of our desire to try and agree a four-nations approach which will allow families to meet up over the Christmas period.”

Agreement has not yet been reached and it is not clear whether the Cobra meeting will provide certainty for families planning their Christmas break.

But the Number 10 spokesman said: “We continue to work with the devolved nations to agree a plan to allow families to meet up over Christmas.

“That work is ongoing and there will be a meeting later of Cobra to discuss it.”