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Update on coronavirus from Health Secretary

16 July 2020 (updated on 16 July 2020)

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Matt Hancock, Health Secretary updated the House on the Government's response to coronavirus and the local lockdown in Leicester.

Matt Hancock: we "From 24 July we'll be removing the restrictions on schools and early years childcare."

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock updated the House on the situation in Leicester :

"At the end of June we made the decision to close schools and non-essential retail in the city, and not to introduce the relaxations that applied elsewhere from 4 July like the reopening of pubs."

He added that "Leicester was accounting for 10% of all positive cases in the country."
The Health Secretary told the House that thanks to the efforts of people in Leicester, some but not all the restrictions in Leicester can be relaxed.
He said:

"From 24 July we'll be removing the restrictions on schools and early years childcare. and taking a more targeted approach to the restrictions on non-essential retail, replacing the national decision to close non-essential retail with a local power to close them where necessary."

However Mr Hancock told the House that other restrictions such as those for travel and only having social gatherings of up to six people, will remain in force. He added that these will be reviewed again in a fortnight.
Giving an update on an issue relating to testing, the Secretary informed the House that it has been identified that some swabs are "not up to the usual high standard that we expect, and we'll be carrying out further testing of this batch."
As a precautionary measure the use of the Randox swab test kits should be paused in all settings until further notice.


Jonathan Ashworth: "There were many businesses that were preparing to open their doors."

Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth responded to Matt Hancock's statement.

He asked if the Secretary could update and comment on Sir Patrick Vallance's remarks that Sage had advised the Government to introduce a lockdown sooner.

On the subject of Leicester, Mr Ashworth said:

"We welcome the opening of non-essential retail, but there were many businesses that were preparing to open their doors for the beginning of July […] and they will want to know whether they will get any specific extra business support."

He asked if the Health Secretary can guarantee that those who have booked tickets abroad will not be "out of pocket because they are not allowed to go on a holiday that they've saved up and worked for all year round."

He added that local authorities have reported that they are not getting patient identifiable data or contact tracing data. He also went on to ask the Health Secretary what exactly the issue is with the Randox testing kits.

Image: Creative Commons

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