Problem tests, day to recognise NHS and localised lockdowns: The latest from Health Secretary Matt Hancock on pandemic

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has answered a host of questions on what could happen next in the fight against the “invisible killer” as he made a statement to the House of Commons.

By Fiona Thompson
Thursday, 16th July 2020, 7:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th July 2020, 7:17 pm

Localised lockdowns, recognising the work of NHS and care staff through a day in their honour and concerns about problem tests which failed to meet Government standards were among the issues discussed in Parliament as the minister made a statement to the house.

Much of the discussions centred on the situation in Leicester, which faced a toughening of the lockdown measures from Saturday, July 4, as the rest of England was beginning to come out of a number of restrictions, such as the reopening of pubs.

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Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock addresses Parliament as the latest issues surrounding coronavirus were discussed by MPs. Photo by House of Commons/PA Wire.

As part of that, the health secretary said the decision had been made to protect people in the city as part of the continued “fight against this invisible killer.”

He said: “The need for local lockdowns is one we don’t want to have to make, but it’s an important tool in our armoury to be able to tackle outbreaks when we find them,” adding this could centre around premises, industry or surgery as the virus is targeted.

It came after North Durham Conservative MP Richard Holden asked if there would be any hesitation in ordering a further localised lockdown if the rate of infection caused concerns in a community.

MPs also quizzed him over how data is now being shared to officials on a local level following concerns of delays, with the health secretary saying it was being shared.

He told the house a batch of test kits made by Randox were no longer being used as the CE stamp they were marked with was not accompanied by certification, adding there was no health risk to anyone who had already been tested with one.

The minister also said he would look into establishing a day of recognition for health and social care workers after Janet Daby, Labour member for Lewisham East, suggested March 26, the first day of Clap for Our Carers was held, with Mr Hancock saying it had been an “absolutely brilliant initiative” set up beyond the Government.

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