Skip to main content

Matt Hancock MP gives update on Covid-19 response

18 May 2020 (updated on 18 May 2020)

Image of UK Parliament portcullis

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, made a statement to the House of Commons today updating MPs on the work of the department during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Secretary of State Matt Hancock, began by telling the House that “through the combined efforts of the whole nation, we've got through the peak.”

Matt Hancock MP: "number of patients in critical care is down by two thirds"

The Secretary of State told the House:

“We've flattened the curve and now the number of people in hospital with coronavirus is half what it was at the peak. We've protected the NHS, and the number of patients in critical care is down by two thirds.”

He added that the number of deaths across all settings is falling.

In light of mental health awareness week, Mr Hancock stated the importance of looking after ourselves and each other, and that the NHS is there for those who need mental health support. Mr Hancock said that this is particularly important for frontline staff, and said that the government has supported all NHS trusts to develop 24/7 mental health lines.

The Secretary of State updated the House on the next steps the government is taking as part of the plan to fight Covid-19.

This involves working to protect the Nation's care homes with a further six hundred million pounds available directly to care homes in England. Local authorities are now also required to provide daily reviews of the situation on the ground.

Mr Hancock also updated the House that from today Anosmia - the loss of smell, or experiencing a change in your normal sense of smell or taste, that can be a symptom of coronavirus even when the other symptoms are not present. If someone develops symptoms of Anosmia, they should immediately self-isolate for at least seven days.

Thirdly, Mr Hancock said that eligibility for testing is being expanded, and that everyone aged five and over with symptoms is eligible for testing, and this applies across the UK.

The Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Jonathan Ashworth, began by asking Mr Hancock why there had been a time lag in updating Anosmia as one of the symptoms of Covid-19, as “many healthcare specialists were making these warnings eight weeks ago.”

In response to updates on support for care homes, Mr Ashworth expressed that:

“[... there was no early lockdown of care homes when needed, no testing of people transferred from hospital to care homes until mid-April ceding this virus, PPE was requisitioned from care home staff and given to the NHS because of wider shortages.”

Mr Ashworth asked the Secretary if he could bring forward the date by which all care home residents and staff will be routinely tested. Mr Ashworth added that this crisis has shown that migrant care workers are not low skilled, but immensely able, adding that the Home Office should praise such workers and not penalise them.

The Shadow Secretary told the House that it was reported that 20% of hospital patients got Covid-19 whilst in for another illness, and asked for an update on screening for all heath care workers.

On the subject of tracing, Mr Asworth said:

“I have long argued that the safe way to transition out of a lockdown is by having a test, trace and isolation strategy in place, but it depends on quick turnaround of test results.”

Mr Ashworth asked the Secretary what the current median time for test results to be received by someone when carried out by the Deloitte, and other private sector testing facilities, and asked about when the tracing service will be operational. Mr Ashworth added that he believes in making better use of local public health services.

Image: Pixabay

Find out more

Follow us!

Follow the @HouseofCommons on Twitter and @UKHouseofCommons on Instagram, for updates on the UK House of Commons Chamber and more.