Urgent Question on the Coronavirus "R" rate and lockdown measures
8 June 2020 (updated on 8 June 2020)
The Shadow Secretary of State for Health, asked an Urgent Question in the Chamber today, asking for an update on the Coronavirus "R" rate and lockdown measures.
The Secretary of State Matt Hancock, began by telling the House that “Last week's ONS infection survey estimated that the number of people who had Coronavirus in England fell from 139,000 between 3 – 16 May to 53,000 between 17 – 30 May.”
Matt Hancock MP: "the number of new fatalities is falling."
He told that House that according to an ONS released on Friday, there are now around 5,600 new cases each day within the community in England, and that the number of new fatalities is falling too. The Secretary of State added that today's figure records 55 fatalities – the lowest number since 21 March. He added that the data also shows that there were no deaths recorded in London hospitals, and that this is a real milestone for the capital.
However, the Secretary of State added that more deaths in the future are expected.
The Secretary added that according to SAGE's estimates, the “R” rate remains between 0.7 - 0.9, and that it is below one in every region of the country. He added that “this means that the number of new infections is expected to fall.”
Speaking about the Government's plans, Mr Hancock said:
“Our plan is working, and these downward trends mean we can proceed with our plans, but we do so putting caution and safety first.”
Jonathan Ashworth MP: "testing is still not sufficient – we are still not routinely testing all NHS staff."
The Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Jonathan Ashworth, began by saying “the Government is easing restrictions, but even through looking at their own tests we know that PPE supplies are still not secured” and that “tracing is still not fully operational” and that “testing is still not sufficient – we are still not routinely testing all NHS staff.”
The Shadow Secretary also added that the “R” value according to the PHE Cambridge model, is close to one in many regions, and is at or above one in the North West and the South West.
Mr Ashworth asked the Health Secretary:
- If he will agree to start publishing on a weekly basis the regional “R” value estimate alongside the national estimate.
- If he agrees that the voices of regions must be heard in future decisions about lockdown, and if he will start including the various metro mayors such as Andy Burnham in the COBRA meetings?
- He also asked if there will be written guidance issued “on defining what a local lockdown is, how it will be enforced and what resources and powers local authorities and agencies will be able to draw upon.”
Find out more
- Watch Parliament TV: Urgent Question on the Coronavirus "R" rate and lockdown measures
- Transcripts of proceedings in the House of Commons Chamber are available in Hansard online three hours after they happen.