Coronavirus: Disease Control

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 25th June 2020.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the Government’s criteria are for the application of the precautionary principle in relation to public health risks; on what occasions the precautionary principle has been applied to tackling covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The precautionary principle is conventionally used to “advise caution in the uptake of innovations with known benefits but uncertain or unmeasurable downsides”. The public health response to COVID-19 considers all available scientific evidence, as well as expert scientific advice. Where there is scientific uncertainty, it is not unusual for public health authorities to take a reasonable but precautionary approach, such as buying ventilators and creating Nightingale hospitals.

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