THE coronavirus pandemic is back under control in England, the Health Secretary has said.

Matt Hancock made the announcement during a Downing Street press conference this evening in which he claimed nationwide restrictions put in place throughout November had been a success.

Mr Hancock has been responding to the latest figures which suggests Covid cases have dropped by 30 per cent in England in the last week.

He said: "This is clearly good news. It shows that the national restrictions have been successful.

"And what this means in practice is that through everyone’s actions in respecting the national lockdown, and through everything that people have sacrificed, we’ve reduced pressures on the NHS, we’ve brought down the number of coronavirus cases, we’ve got this virus back under control.

The lockdown is due to end after tomorrow and the majority of non-essential retailers, pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and leisure facilities will be allowed to reopen.

The country is set to be split up again however, with the three-tiered lockdown system being brought back in to control the rate of infection.

Mr Hancock stressed the need for tiered restrictions to return, saying “while we can let up a little, we can’t afford to let up a lot”.

He told a today's press conference about one in three people have no symptoms at all but can still infect others, adding: “That is why even as we ease these national restrictions we’ve got to keep some restrictions in place.

“So while we can let up a little, we can’t afford to let up a lot.

“The success of our collective efforts means that from Wednesday everyone in England, even those in Tier 3, can have some greater freedoms but we don’t have much headroom.”

He also pointed to the Government’s impact assessment in needing the new tiered approach.

“It clearly demonstrates this action is necessary to avoid a much worse outcome – and we must be vigilant", he said.

MPs have yet to approve the tiered lockdown approach, but some have already indicated they will vote against the Government amid concerns tougher restrictions in some areas will damage businesses.