Covid-19 - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:32 pm on 23rd April 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Meacher Baroness Meacher Crossbench 6:32 pm, 23rd April 2020

My Lords, I thank the Ministers for all that they are doing in this very difficult situation and, of course, all our wonderful NHS and care staff for what they do every day and every night.

As the Minister knows, the countries most successful in controlling Covid-19 are those with comprehensive testing and contact-tracing systems. We are thrilled to bits that we have two leading research teams in the country—great applause to them—but, until their vaccines are available across the country, the testing regime will be the only approach that will enable a return to any kind of normality. A large-scale sample, or provision, of testing and tracing and so on for care workers will not achieve that objective. Will the Minister tell the House if or when the Government will introduce a comprehensive—I emphasise that word—scheme of testing, contact-tracing and, as has been said, isolation, of all who have symptoms of Covid-19? This means not a sample and not just people in the care sector, but the nation. That is the only way out of the tight corner we are in. If not, can the Minister explain why?