COVID-19 Ministerial Statement 18/05/20

COVID-19 Statement 18/05/20

On Monday, I took part in the Ministerial Statement from Matt Hancock updating the house on COVID-19.

In my response, I asked how he can know that the crowded transport systems seen in London last week are not already leading to a rise in infections without the testing of all symptomatic cases being put in place before the lockdown was eased?

I also highlighted the difficulty that the Royal College of GPs has expressed in getting test results back from Deloitte regional test centres. It’s disappointing that Matt Hancock is still planning to outsource contact tracing to Serco call centres instead of rebuilding the public health networks in England which the Tories dismantled.

The UK still has six times the number of new cases per day than when the lockdown was brought in. Yet, the UK Government has already begun re-opening workplaces. A more gradual and cautious approach must be taken when drawing up plans to re-open schools and further workplaces across the UK to avoid creating a second spike in the number of new infections and deaths.

“I welcome that eligibility for testing is being widened to all symptomatic cases as the first step towards a test, trace and isolate approach, but does the Secretary of State agree that the system should have been in place before lockdown was eased? Without it, how can he know that the crowded public transport systems that we saw last week are not already leading to a rise in infections? The Secretary of State prides himself on having ramped up testing, but we know that many thousands of those are just in the post, so will he clarify whether those tests are counted again when they are actually carried out?

The Royal College of GPs has highlighted the difficulty in getting test results back from the Deloitte regional test centres. As it is contact tracing and isolation that stop the spread of the virus, how will the Secretary of State speed up results and ensure that they are fed back to GPs and public health teams, who are critical to detecting and controlling local outbreaks? The UK still has more than six times the number of new cases per day than when the lockdown was brought in. Does he not think that that is still too high to be sending people back to work and school?”

The full text can be found here in Hansard