Public Health: Coronavirus Regulations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:44 pm on 13th October 2020.

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Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper Conservative, Forest of Dean 3:44 pm, 13th October 2020

I do think there is some evidence to show that local teams are better. I work closely with my local director of public health in Gloucestershire—I am sure every Member of the House does with theirs—the fantastic Sarah Scott, who has recently been promoted to a wider brief, and her team. I would have real confidence that if she were given the resources, she and her team would do a fantastic job of tracing contacts quickly, getting to them, working with them to explain why isolating was important and perhaps being able to work with them to identify some of the barriers that, as my right hon. Friend John Redwood mentioned, might stop them isolating. If we were to do that and be much more effective, that would enable us not only to live with this virus, but to live meaningful lives where people could have more social contact; they could have more ability to have those important contacts—the Secretary of State acknowledged they were important. That was in the Government’s original plan and they should lean into it. The Government have a strategy and they need to go back to that original strategy to look at the areas that are not being executed as well as they could be. I said in my intervention that I give credit to the Test and Trace team for massively expanding testing, but the testing is not an end; it is a means to an end: to identify the virus, isolate areas where we need to put in further measures and encourage people to isolate. If we do that, we will be successful and the country will thank us for it.