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The Liberal Democrat Coronavirus Update

March 31, 2020 2:02 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Ed Davey responds to Foreign Secretary's update on coronavirus

Responding to yesterday evening's update on coronavirus from the Foreign Secretary, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

"Reports from many British citizens stuck overseas bring home the reality of the global scale of this crisis. Many have been in a desperate position, unsure whether they will be able to secure accommodation or access adequate supplies.

"The Foreign Office must ensure that British citizens will be able to return home, wherever they have been stranded, without exception.

We welcome the steps the government is taking to charter flights in order to get people home, and to work to ensure commercial flights remain available where possible.

The government must now make every possible effort to directly contact British citizens who are stuck, and do whatever is necessary to ensure they can board repatriation flights.

Misleading test numbers put public trust in government at risk

Responding to reports that the government did not in fact reach its target of 10,000 tests per day to diagnose coronavirus, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

"Throughout the coronavirus crisis the Liberal Democrats have always been clear that retaining the public's trust has to be a top priority for the government."

There needs to be an answer as to how this happened, as well as a commitment to ensure an incident such as this does not happen again.

Stopping the spread of coronavirus is hugely dependent on the public trusting the information and advice the government provides.

Extending the Brexit transition period is the right thing to do

Following a new Focaldata poll showing 64% of voters want Boris Johnson to "request an extension to the transition period in order to focus properly on the coronavirus", Liberal Democrat Acting Leader Ed Davey said:

"Extending the Brexit transition period now is the right thing to do. Boris Johnson must give tackling Coronavirus the government's undivided focus. Saving lives must be the priority."

This isn't about old debates, it's about the stark reality our country and the world is now faced with. Liberal Democrats will continue to urge the Prime Minister to immediately extend the Brexit talks.

Covid-19 testing must come with adequate PPE and extend to social care

Responding to Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove announcing increased testing capacity, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

"The coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented threat and people are rightly worried. In times like this, we cannot thank front-line staff enough for going above and beyond to look after us all.

Those risking their health to work on the frontline deserve assurances that the Government is doing everything it can to keep them safe."

New capacity for testing is welcome, but it must also come alongside adequate PPE and be extensively expanded to social care workers in order to best protect the most vulnerable.

Lib Dems say thank you to the NHS

Our health and social care workers are going above and beyond during this crisis - we want to say thank you.

To everyone working in the NHS and in our social care system: every doctor, nurse, carer, paramedic, health care assistant, manager, cleaner, administrator, pharmacist, those on the front-line and those keeping the NHS working behind the scene - thank you.

The best thing we can do for our healthcare staff right now is to follow the official NHS advice. That means staying at home if you're not a key worker, keeping your distance in supermarkets, and quarantining yourself when you're showing symptoms.

Not all of these are easy steps to take - but we owe it to our NHS to help them help us.

We are also circulating a letter of appreciation to NHS staff, to show our thanks to them for putting themselves at risk to keep us all safe.

If you'd like to add your thanks, you can do so by following this link to sign our card.