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Covid-19

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:06 pm on 16th March 2020.

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Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt Chair, Health and Social Care Committee, Chair, Health and Social Care Committee 6:06 pm, 16th March 2020

I warmly welcome the measures announced today. People have debated when they were going to be introduced, but the Government have shown today that they have the courage to introduce very tough measures that will have profound economic consequences, which will reassure many people up and down the country. In the constructive spirit adopted by the shadow Health Secretary, I want to ask a couple of things about the measures that have been introduced.

First, the Secretary of State is advising people not to go to clubs, cinemas and restaurants. Will he also advise clubs, cinemas and restaurants to close their doors, so that there is absolute clarity that people should not, at this moment, engage in those activities? Secondly, if someone in a household is symptomatic, he is advising the whole household to self-isolate for 14 days. I understand the logic behind that, which was very clearly explained, but the World Health Organisation advice is to test and isolate every single suspected case of the virus, so would he explain why there is divergence?

Thirdly, to follow up the question asked by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister—[Hon. Members: “Former”]—the former Prime Minister, is the advice to healthy over-70s who do not have an existing long-term condition that they should be part of a new shielding policy that is happening at the weekend, or is that shielding policies just for over-70s with an existing health condition?