Boris Johnson explained his plans for the future of the coronavirus lockdown will be announced on Sunday and come into force the next day. Sir Keir Starmer questioned when the Government will be setting out the plans as he called for the Prime Minister to come back to the House to have plans scrutinised.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Johnson said: “I just want to explain to the House as a courtesy for why it’s happening on Sunday because I’m sure you would be interested in that.
“The reason in that is very simple. We have to be sure that the data is going to support our ability to do this and that data is coming continuously over the next few days.
“We want to get going with some of these measures on Monday and I think it will be a good thing Mr Speaker if people have an idea of what’s going on the following day.
“That’s why I think Sunday is the best time to do it.
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Boris Johnson explained plans for the coronavirus lockdown will be announced this week
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“But of course the house will be fully informed and will have the full opportunity to interrogate myself and the Government.”
During PMQs in the Commons, Sir Keir Starmer said: “Contract tracing was happening in the UK but it was abandoned in mid-March.
“We were told at the time that this was because it was quote ‘not an appropriate mechanism’ but yesterday the deputy chief medical officer said it was to do with testing capacity.
“So can the Prime Minister just clarify the position for us?”
Boris Johnson will announce a change in lockdown measures on Sunday
Mr Johnson replied: “As I think is readily apparent Mr Speaker to everybody who studied the situation and I think as the scientists would confirm, the difficulty in mid-March was that the tracing capacity that we had, that had been useful as he rightly says in the containment phase of the epidemic, that capacity was no longer useful or relevant since the transmission from individuals within the UK meant that it exceeded our capacity then.
“Now the value of the testing, tracking and tracing operation that we’re setting up now is that as we come out of the epidemic and as we get the new cases down, we will have a team that will genuinely be able to track and trace hundreds of thousands of people across the country and thereby to drive down the epidemic.”
Boris Johnson admitted that the difficulties in supplying personal protective equipment have been “enraging”.
Continuing PMQs in the Commons, Sir Keir Starmer said “clearly there are ongoing problems” with PPE and that “it is obvious that this problem is going to get even more acute if and when the Government ask people to return to work”.
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“We’re clearly going to need a very robust, national plan for protective equipment. Can the Prime Minister reassure the public that they won’t be asked to return to work until that plan is in place?”
Mr Johnson replied: “Yes Mr Speaker, I certainly can.”
“And I share his frustration about PPE, and the frustration that I think people have felt across the House and across the country, it has been enraging to see the difficulties we’ve had in supplying PPE to those who need it.”
He added that the Government is now “engaged in a massive plan to ramp up domestic supply” so that “we are able in the long term, and it may be the long term, to satisfy the domestic needs of this country”.