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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Everyone living and working in Liverpool will now be offered a Covid test, whether they have symptoms or not. Testing will begin this week and, as I mentioned in a previous answer, the pilot is being undertaken at the request of and in close collaboration with local leaders. The aim is to better control the spread of the virus and, as the noble Earl rightly says, gain more data about the number of cases across the city, so that even more targeted action can be taken and people find out the results of their test very quickly. Then they will know to self-isolate and will not perhaps unwittingly spread the virus.

Lord Dubs Portrait Lord Dubs (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, the Minister will be aware that many people have relatives, often aged parents, in care homes, and are unable to visit them because of the restrictions imposed. This is causing a great deal of pain. If we can test all the people of Liverpool, as I welcome, could we not have a rigorous testing programme where all people who have relatives in care homes can be tested so that they can visit their relatives, who often have dementia and are very lonely and isolated?

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Con)
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The noble Lord is absolutely right, and this is perhaps one of the most—of so many—heartbreaking situations within this pandemic. He will know that regular testing is now available for all care homes, which includes weekly testing of staff and monthly testing of residents. He is absolutely right—in this pilot in Liverpool the aim is to do this, but then to look at being able to roll out this sort of testing within the NHS and care homes so we can do exactly as he suggests.