Covid-19 Update

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:50 am on 10th September 2020.

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Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 11:50 am, 10th September 2020

The hon. Gentleman was rather better when he was supporting the Government action in the first part of his response. He cannot seem to decide whether he is in favour of more testing, or against it. All we get is complaint after complaint, rather than support for his constituents and the people of this country in our quest to get through this virus.

First, on who is eligible for a test, precisely as I said and as he literally read out, if you have symptoms, get a test. If you do not have symptoms, you are not eligible for a test, unless specifically asked for one. [Hon. Members: “If in doubt!”] Yes, if you have symptoms and are in doubt about whether those symptoms are coronavirus, get a test. If you do not have symptoms, do not get a test. That has not changed. It is exactly the same. What has changed is that Jonathan Ashworth does not know whether he is coming or going.

The hon. Gentleman does not seem to understand that the way in which we build a huge project like our testing, which is at record levels, is to back all the horses. Once again, he complained about businesses supporting us in our roll-out of mass testing. That divisive approach is wrong. We support universities, businesses and the NHS to deliver more testing; we do not support the totally confused approach of the Opposition. He does not know whether he is in favour of or against more testing.

The hon. Gentleman asked about the money, and £500 million has thus far been allocated to this project, but more is likely. He asked about staff testing in the NHS. As he well knows, we follow clinical advice, but always keep it under review. Finally, he asked about schools. The policy on schools is that, if somebody tests positive, that bubble needs to self-isolate. A bubble is defined as those who are in close contact within a school setting.

I will end on a point on which we agree strongly. On this, World Suicide Prevention Day, all of us are united in support of the mental health services provided across this country, and of all those who are working hard for those with mental ill health or at risk of suicide. That is a project on which all of us are on the same side and working together to support people.