Covid-19 Update Debate

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Department: Leader of the House
Tuesday 3rd November 2020

(3 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Con)
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As we have made clear, the furlough scheme is a UK-wide scheme, and, as the Prime Minister said, we will always be there for all parts of the UK.

Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top Portrait Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, can the Minister confirm that local authorities now get sufficient information and data to know where their centres of infection are? Will the Government commit today to working with them to ensure that they have the resources to bear down on those places, whatever they may be, so that they can confidently be prepared to come out of lockdown and to keep on top of that? That means that they will need to be on top of test, track and trace in that more dangerous time after lockdown in particular. Local authorities have shown that they can do track and trace effectively. Why do the Government not work with them in a more trustworthy way and give us all hope that we can get out of lock- down and begin to deal with this virus more effectively?

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Con)
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I entirely agree with the noble Baroness. We are working very closely with local authorities, and they do indeed have significant resources and powers to do local contact tracing. In fact, there are more than 128 local authority contact tracing teams in place around the country, with more to come. I am sure she will be aware of the Liverpool pilot scheme, which we are hoping will be successful and roll out. Everyone living and working in Liverpool will now be offered a Covid test, whether they have symptoms or not. Whole-city testing aims to protect those at highest risk and find asymptomatic cases in order to prevent and reduce transmission in the community, exactly as the noble Baroness said. If this approach works—and we are looking to roll it out—we are hopeful that it will play a significant role in doing exactly what the noble Baroness says in helping to make sure that local authorities and local areas can bear down quickly and effectively on outbreaks within their area.