Local Contact Tracing

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:08 pm on 14th October 2020.

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Photo of Catherine McKinnell Catherine McKinnell Chair, Petitions Committee, Chair, Petitions Committee 6:08 pm, 14th October 2020

Absolutely, spend the billions of pounds that we have wasted—spend it on bumping up the capacity and ability of our local GPs and health services, which can do a better job.

I wish to say a word about asymptomatic carriers. Research published by University College London last week found that 86% of those sampled who had tested positive for covid-19 between April and July had had no symptoms—that includes cough, fever or loss of taste and smell. So many people who are asymptomatic test positive, as we have seen at Northumbria University, and that is hugely concerning. It shows that we need a much more robust and expanded testing strategy to control the virus.

What are the Government doing to ensure that we can capture these silent spreaders? Is the system anywhere close to having the capacity to address this, given that we cannot even test those who have symptoms and have been instructed to take a test? The Government wasted the time we spent in national lockdown and failed to get the apparatus of proper track and trace system in place once those restrictions were finally relaxed. We are now living with the consequences of that decision. As we now appear to be entering another era of harsher restrictions across much of the country, the Government owe it to the people who continue to endure hardship, uncertainty, loneliness and bereavement not to waste this time again.