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The Liberal Democrat Coronavirus Update

May 4, 2020 5:00 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Frontline workers still lack the testing they need, report shows

A new report from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) found more than 76% of Health and Social Care workers have not been offered a test for Covid-19.

In response to these findings, our Health spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

"It is good news the Government has managed to significantly expand testing, but these reports are deeply concerning.

"Health and Social Care workers on the frontline of the fight against the Coronavirus have put their lives on the line to protect their communities. It is outrageous they have not received the PPE and testing they need.

For the lockdown to end safely, the Government needs to have a system of test, trace and isolate in place for the entire population.

The fact that not even frontline workers are being adequately tested shows how far the Government need to travel to safely end the lockdown.

Government must be clear on school re-opening plan

Responding to reports that the Government is pursuing a phased re-opening of schools, our Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

"We need to take a cautious approach to reopening schools. I've previously called on the Government to be transparent about the criteria it is using.

"All schools must be advised on how to undertake risk assessments that follow scientific advice. Social distancing, appropriate personal protective equipment and adequate deep cleaning must be adhered to.

"Most importantly parents, pupils and teachers must have confidence that their safety is not being put at risk, and that re-opening their school does not become a factor in another peak in their community."

There must be more action to tackle domestic violence

Responding to the government's new plan to tackle domestic violence, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Home Affairs Christine Jardine said:


"People up and down the country live in fear because of domestic violence. This money will be welcome relief, and hopefully will mean that people get the help they need.

The lockdown has made the situation much worse for survivors and the refuges that seek to help them."


Although the government's plan is a good start, many will wonder why it took the government so long to take these steps.

It is also important that this is only the beginning of a more comprehensive project to stop domestic violence, which will need more investment.


It is also absolutely crucial that the government makes sure all survivors can access services by suspending the No Recourse to Public Funds rule and that we ensure people who work in refuges are given key worker status.

Government must put national interest ahead of Brexit ideology

Responding to reports that the Government is seeking to join the EU pandemic early warning system, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

"This is a positive step from the Government. The UK should always cooperate with our partners in the EU when it is in the national interest.

It was extremely disappointing that the Government failed to take up the opportunity to work with the EU to provide frontline workers with PPE.

It is also deeply concerning that the Conservatives appear hellbent on sticking to their own arbitrary deadline to have a Brexit deal negotiated by the end of this year, ignoring the damage that failure to secure a deal could do to our fragile post-coronavirus economy."

Seeking to join the EU pandemic warning system is a welcome step in the right direction, but Government policy is still being driven by Brexit ideology, rather than the national interest.

Public will not be fooled by Government manipulating testing figures

Responding to claims from the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, that the Government has gone well past its goal of 100,000 tests a day to combat coronavirus, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey:

"The Health Secretary's arbitrary target of 100,000 tests by the end of April was always a hostage to fortune, and the truth is, he missed it.

It's extremely disappointing the Government have decided to massage the metrics rather than admit they fell short, as this will only undermine public confidence.

"Everyone wants the country to succeed in beating this awful disease but the British public won't be so easily fooled by manipulation.

It's deeply regrettable but we're still miles off the large-scale testing programme that will be an essential part of any plan to ease out of lockdown through a test, trace and isolate approach."

Liberal Democrats have long-called for the Government to be frank about what is and is not achievable, to ensure transparency and maintain public trust, but Ministers continue to play fast and loose with the truth.

COVID-19 impact on deprived areas shows Government must act on shameful inequalities

New data from the ONS shows "people living in more deprived areas have experienced COVID-19 mortality rates more than double those living in less deprived areas.

This awful virus has wrought havoc on lives across the UK, but it's clear that those worst affected are people already living in some of the most deprived areas of the country.

Many of those key workers most at risk - people on the frontlines, keeping supermarkets stocked, delivering our essentials and ensuring hospitals can stay up and running through this crisis - are also in some of the lowest paid jobs.

Many others will have specific vulnerabilities, due to age or underlying health conditions.

Responding to the news, Acting Leader Ed Davey said:

"The Conservative Government must ensure that no one is left behind in efforts to tackle the virus. Ministers must do more right now to protect everyone working to keep our health system and essential services up and running.

This means ensuring Personal Protective Equipment is provided as standard for all essential frontline workers.

Going forward, Ministers must act to tackle the fundamental inequalities that have put people at greater risk from COVID-19."