My Lords, it is never easy to deal with a public health issue of this magnitude. I have sympathy with the Government’s position. However, I too have serious reservations about the measures before us.
After so many months, we have learned a huge amount about this virus and how to treat it. Meanwhile, other public health issues that are also a risk to life are being worsened. I urge the Government to look more carefully at public health in the macro sense—all aspects—rather than the ongoing micro focus on Covid-19, which is just one of the myriad threats.
These regulations are laid before us without a proper impact assessment and without the views of experts in epidemiology and bioscience, who have been warning ever more loudly that the number of deaths from the extraordinary and extreme measures being taken to fight the spread of Covid-19 are likely to exceed the deaths that the virus causes. We are bringing our law-making into disrepute by introducing measures that may cause extra deaths and economic destruction, particularly in the hospitality sector, which I agree needs urgent assistance. Without proper public health evidence of why these measures are needed, how will they produce a better future, and most important, what is the end game?
Of course extreme lockdown reduces virus transmissions. The rule of six will itself do that, but once there is relaxation the virus remains. The inconsistency and seemingly laughable rules in these measures, which other noble Lords have explained, make no sense. I echo the call for logic, evidence and common sense that will take account of the whole public health impact on the population and do not causes added problems for our economy.