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Coronavirus

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:05 pm on 11th March 2020.

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Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 7:05 pm, 11th March 2020

The hon. Lady asked some important questions about how Parliament will function. Matters of how we work are of course for Parliament—for the Leader of the House, the Speaker and the Commission, all guided by the science. They are in constant contact with Public Health England to get the very best advice. As for when we are voting, this disease passes in very, very large part from people who have symptoms, and we may not have symptoms. What really matters is making sure that as soon as people have symptoms potentially of coronavirus, they get in contact with 111 or Public Health England.

The hon. Lady asked for more testing. We are absolutely ramping up the testing capabilities. We have been commended on the approach we are taking by international bodies; she mentioned the WHO. She asked about children. One of the good pieces of news about the virus is that it does appear to have a much, much less significant impact on children. On the GMC and indemnity, absolutely —both those issues will be addressed in the Bill, and we are working very closely with the GMC.

The hon. Lady asked about collaboration and work with the European Union. We still remain within the European Union data transfer capabilities. Most of this data is being transferred—frankly, it is being published. We are being as transparent as possible. This week, we brought out a new website in order to be as transparent as possible about all the cases in the UK. Most European nations are taking exactly that approach.