Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) (Amendment) (No. 6) Regulations 2021 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:45 pm on 15th December 2021.

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Photo of Lord Davies of Brixton Lord Davies of Brixton Labour 12:45 pm, 15th December 2021

My Lords, I have three points. First, I was struck that the noble Lord, Lord Robathan, introduced his speech by referring to the scarifying effect of the debate in the Commons yesterday. Subsequently he went on—as have other speakers—to try to scare us about these regulations. It has been, to a large extent, a scare story about these proposed regulations. In truth, they are oh-so limited in their extent. It is quite possible that we might have to introduce stronger restrictions, so what we are being scared about is a slippery slope, that sooner or later these regulations will lead to an oppressive state. Well, they do not—they are just keeping us a little bit safer.

Secondly, on the idea that omicron is milder, we do not yet know that it is milder in the UK context. What we do know is that it is much more invasive. It will infect many more people. Even if it is milder—which we do not yet know—a milder effect on a much larger number may place a heavier burden on the health service. There is even the perverse, non-intuitive effect that a milder disease could place a heavier burden on the health service because, sad though it is to say, if people do not die so quickly of this disease, they will be in hospital for longer.

Thirdly, the debate on vaccine passports has been mentioned. I do not quite understand what people are saying, because I already have a vaccine passport—I guess that the great majority of people in this Chamber have one. I have used my vaccine passport. These regulations are saying that, in certain circumstances, that is one way of showing that there are good odds of you not being as infectious. I agree that there is a slippery slope here—I am totally against ID cards—but this information is already contained in the vaccine passports. The regulations are about how they should be used.