Debates between Lord Ravensdale and Lord Bethell

There have been 1 exchanges between Lord Ravensdale and Lord Bethell

1 Tue 21st April 2020 Covid-19: Removal of Restrictions
Department of Health and Social Care
3 interactions (337 words)

Covid-19: Removal of Restrictions

Debate between Lord Ravensdale and Lord Bethell
Tuesday 21st April 2020

(10 months, 1 week ago)

Lords Chamber

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Department of Health and Social Care
Lord Bethell Portrait Lord Bethell
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The noble Baroness is entirely right that the use of PPE—certainly in the workplace and, more commonly, in other parts of our life—is likely to be part of our lives in the forthcoming period. However, to date, the British Government have been sceptical about the efficacy of face masks. We do not want to be in a position of misleading or providing false reassurance for the public when there is not sufficient scientific evidence for the relevance of face masks. However, should that evidence emerge and should the guidance change, we will of course follow the science and make the recommendation if it is helpful.

Lord Ravensdale Portrait Lord Ravensdale (CB)
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My Lords, in response to the question from the noble Lord, Lord Patel, the Minister talked about the limitations of antibody testing. Antibody testing can provide crucial information on the penetration of the disease within the population, its lethality and how widespread asymptomatic cases are, complementing work being done in a number of other countries. Can the Minister provide an update on what is being done in the UK on antibody testing?

Lord Bethell Portrait Lord Bethell
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Forgive me, my Lords, the beeping of my computer distracted me during my answer to the previous question. I did not want to give the impression that I was sceptical of the use of serology tests; far from it. We are investing a huge amount in research into serology tests of various kinds, both lateral flow and ELISA tests. We have been in touch with more than 180 providers of these tests. The Government recently backed a British-based consortium developing a British lateral flow test of which we have very high hopes and expectations, with a view to potentially doing a large amount of mass testing in the months to come. As the noble Lord rightly implied, you need a level of antibody prevalence for the testing to be accurate and useful. This type of test will be important to us further down the road and I will update noble Lords on the progress of our research as it develops.