Covid-19 Update

The following are extracts from the exchanges following the statement by the Minister for Covid Vaccine Deployment on 19 July 2021.

Richard Drax Portrait Richard Drax (South Dorset) (Con) [V]
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My hon. Friend said at the start of his statement that the disease was still here and that we were not out of the woods yet. The fact is that variants of covid-19 will be with us for many years to come. If we are truly to live with this virus, freedom day must mean what it says; the alternative is utter confusion, with hundreds of thousands of people having to isolate after being pinged by the NHS app. Here in Dorset, the police are beginning to struggle, because of the numbers who have to isolate. Will my hon. Friend tell me that the emergency services to which I think he referred include the police—that if they are double jabbed, they do not have to isolate—before enforcement of law and order becomes a real difficulty here in Dorset, I believe down in Devon and perhaps in other parts of the country?

Nadhim Zahawi Portrait Nadhim Zahawi
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My hon. Friend is absolutely right that we take this step confidently but cautiously. I remind the House that this is probably the most infectious respiratory virus known to humankind, with aerosol transmission, so we need to ensure that we are careful as we head into step 4.

[Official Report, 19 July 2021, Vol. 699, c. 693.]

Letter of correction from the Minister for Covid Vaccine Deployment, the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Nadhim Zahawi).

An error has been identified in my response to my hon. Friend the Member for South Dorset (Richard Drax).

The correct response should have been:

Nadhim Zahawi Portrait Nadhim Zahawi
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My hon. Friend is absolutely right that we take this step confidently but cautiously. I remind the House that this is probably one of the most infectious respiratory viruses known to humankind, with aerosol transmission, so we need to ensure that we are careful as we head into step 4.

Debbie Abrahams Portrait Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East and Saddleworth) (Lab)
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Many of my former public health colleagues are very concerned about lifting mitigations today in the context of escalating cases—50,000 currently—12 million people who have not been vaccinated and an NHS and care workforce who are frankly on their knees. What estimates have the Government made of the effect of extending the wearing of masks and other mitigations three weeks after 80% of the eligible population have been vaccinated on incidence of long covid, hospitalisations and deaths?

Nadhim Zahawi Portrait Nadhim Zahawi
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The vaccination programme could in no way have delivered the extraordinary uptake without the backbone being NHS doctors, nurses and pharmacists, working with our armed forces, local government and the private sector to deliver it.

Nadhim Zahawi Portrait Nadhim Zahawi
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And volunteers and the police. The hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) reminds us all of the role that policemen and women played in ensuring that the vaccination roll-out worked well. The very clear guideline is that we should take both personal and corporate responsibility. It is great to see Transport for London, other transport systems and the M10 of metro Mayors, which I speak to regularly, taking that corporate responsibility. We all have our part to play, as we have done by coming together and vaccinating the country at scale. This is the most infectious respiratory disease that is aerosol-transmitted.

[Official Report, 19 July 2021, Vol. 699, c. 695.]

Letter of correction from the Minister for Covid Vaccine Deployment, the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Nadhim Zahawi).

An error has been identified in my response to the hon. Member for Oldham East and Saddleworth (Debbie Abrahams).

The correct response should have been:

Nadhim Zahawi Portrait Nadhim Zahawi
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And volunteers and the police. The hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) reminds us all of the role that policemen and women played in ensuring that the vaccination roll-out worked well. The very clear guideline is that we should take both personal and corporate responsibility. It is great to see Transport for London, other transport systems and the M10 of metro Mayors, which I speak to regularly, taking that corporate responsibility. We all have our part to play, as we have done by coming together and vaccinating the country at scale. This is one of the most infectious respiratory diseases that is aerosol-transmitted.