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Today's Headlines

May 26, 2020 11:02 AM
By Danny Simm

PM must terminate Cummings' contract

Yesterday Dominic Cummings gave a press conference regarding his trip to Durham during lockdown.

  • Millions of people are worried for their loved ones. They have made heartbreaking sacrifices every day since lockdown, including missing family gatherings like weddings and funerals.
  • People are rightly angry about Dominic Cummings' behaviour. It cannot be one rule for senior government officials and one rule for everyone else. Cummings' refusal to have the decency to apologise - and the Prime Minister's support for him - is an insult to us all. It reveals the worst of their elitist arrogance.
  • The bond of trust between the Government and the people has been broken. The buck stops with the Prime Minister and his judgement is now in question. He must come clean about what he knew and when, and terminate Dominic Cummings' contract.
  • Each minute the Prime Minister fails to act is another minute the Government is distracted from upscaling Britain's testing capacity, securing PPE for frontline workers and preventing the tragic deaths in our care homes.
  • All Conservative MPs must stop defending the indefensible and put the health, wellbeing and economy of our country first by calling for the Prime Minister's scandal-hit spin doctor-in-chief to go.
  • It is now clearer than ever that, once we are through this crisis, there must also be an independent inquiry to review the Government's actions, so we can learn lessons.

Closure of Weston General Hospital shows critical need for test, trace, isolate system

Yesterday Weston General Hospital was forced to close to new patients due to a high number of COVID-19 cases.

  • This outbreak demonstrates the incredibly urgent need for a comprehensive test, trace and isolate system. That is the only way to keep people safe. Testing at scale and effective contact tracing on the ground are essential if we are to prevent further widespread transmission of COVID-19, and ensure our NHS can continue to function.
  • Given that just yesterday the Prime Minister suggested he is looking to ease elements of the lockdown in the coming days, he must ensure that a robust test, trace, isolate system is up and running, ready to contain localised outbreaks wherever they emerge. That is the only way to monitor and halt the spread of this dreadful virus.
  • Ministers must be entirely transparent about how close we are to rolling out this kind of system across the country, and confirm whether measures to test, trace and isolate are already in place at Weston General Hospital to help contain this outbreak.

Ministers must be transparent about false negatives in COVID-19 testing

Yesterday The Guardian reported that Ministers and PHE will not disclose the number of false negative results from COVID-19 swab tests.

  • Those working in health and care rely on COVID-19 testing to know they are safe to work - this helps to protect those who are vulnerable, especially in hospitals and care homes. Not only have Ministers failed to roll out testing quickly enough, they are failing to be transparent about the risks of inaccurate results.
  • Many on the frontline have long been aware of the significant false negative rate but details have been shrouded in secrecy. Not only is transparency essential, but so is frequent and regular testing of frontline workers, which means continuing to ramp up capacity.
  • We must test, trace and isolate to keep people safe. A comprehensive system for this needs to be up and running before steps are taken to ease the lockdown. It is vital that Ministers issue clear guidance and build in contingency to account for the possibility of false negatives. Otherwise they risk undermining any test, trace, isolate system.