Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:19 pm on 12th January 2021.

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Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care) 3:19 pm, 12th January 2021

The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. I say to those who may doubt or speculate about this disease: it is real and it has, sadly, taken more than 80,000 of our fellow citizens from us. Watch the news coverage that we all see every night of our amazing frontline NHS staff explaining just what they have seen, what they have had to do on their shift, how they have fought valiantly to save people’s lives, often successfully but on occasions sadly not, and what that has meant for them. I reflect on an incredibly dignified elderly gentlemen whom I saw on the news before Christmas—I think his name was Mr Lewis from the Rhondda—who, in the space of a week, had lost his wife and two other members of his family to this cruel disease. I say to those who say that it is not serious and that it is not as dangerous as some people say: watch those news clips and listen to those people who have been bereaved, and to all those people who have been in hospital and thankfully have recovered but have been through hell and back with this disease. The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. We all have a part to play in following the rules and beating this disease. I, for one, as soon as I am eligible to have my vaccination—I fear that the grey hair may not get me higher up the list and that I am too young, along with my shadow, and we may have a while to wait—will certainly take up that offer.