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Covid-19 Update - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:31 pm on 25th June 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal 12:31 pm, 25th June 2020

I hope that she can assure Sam Parker that we are committed to doing everything possible to allow children to go back to school safely. In the next couple of weeks, we will be publishing the guidance to help schools plan successfully for a full return in September.

The noble Lord, Lord Newby, asked about choral singing. I am afraid I hear that the science shows that there is an additional risk of infection when you or others are singing or speaking loudly, and this applies even if others are at a distance from you. This is something—I am trying to speak softly—that we will continue to look into. I share the noble Lord’s wish for cricket to return and will continue to apply whatever pressure I can. Yes, it is the ball, I believe.

The noble Lord also asked about orchestras. Sector-wide guidance for the performing arts returning to rehearsal and performance is something we are working on with the sector. It is a priority because we entirely understand the difficulties that the sector is facing.

The noble Lord asked about statutory sick pay. People will be eligible for statutory sick pay on the basis of their shielding status until 31 July.

Finally, the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, asked about the preparedness plan. We are constantly working to make sure that we are prepared for whatever turn of events we face. Obviously, we have learned a lot from where we have got to now. We continue to hope that we will continue to beat this virus, but we all need to abide by the guidelines and to play our part. We are absolutely committed to continuing to move in the right direction, and we believe we can do that.