Sep 22, 2020

Boris Johnson COVID-19 Announcement Transcript September 22

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RevBlogTranscriptsBoris Johnson TranscriptsBoris Johnson COVID-19 Announcement Transcript September 22

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a coronavirus announcement on September 22, outlining new restrictions as Europe faces a second wave of the virus. Johnson said: “We should assume that the restrictions I have announced will remain in place for perhaps six months.” Read the transcript of his announcement here.

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Boris Johnson: (00:00)
… that while we might have driven the virus into retreat, the prospect of a second wave was real. And I’m sorry to say that as in Spain and France and many other countries, we’ve reached a perilous turning point. A month ago, on average, around 1000 people across the UK were testing positive for coronavirus every day. The latest figure has almost quadrupled to 3,929. Yesterday, the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor warned that the doubling rate for new cases could be between seven and 20 days with the possibility of tens of thousands of new infections next month.

Boris Johnson: (00:48)
I wish I could reassure the House that the growing number of cases is merely a function of more testing, but a rising proportion of the tests themselves are yielding a positive result. I also wish I could say that more of our people now have the antibodies to keep the virus off, but the latest data suggests that fewer than 8% of us are in this position.

Boris Johnson: (01:17)
It’s true that the number of new cases is growing fastest amongst those age 20 to 29, but the evidence shows that the virus is spreading to other more vulnerable age groups as we have seen in France and Spain, where this has led to increased hospital admissions and sadly, more deaths. In the last fortnight, daily hospital admissions in England have more than doubled. Tens of thousands of daily infections in October would, as night follows day, lead to hundreds of daily deaths in November and those numbers would continue to grow unless we act. And as with all respiratory viruses, COVID is likely to spread faster as autumn becomes winter.

Boris Johnson: (02:06)
Yesterday on the advice of the four Chief Medical Officers, the UK’s COVID alert level was raised from three to four, the second most serious stage, meaning that transmission is high or rising exponentially. So this is the moment when we must act. If we can curb the number of daily infections and reduce the reproduction rate to one, then we can save lives, protect the NHS and the most vulnerable, and shelter the economy from the far sterner and more costly measures that would inevitably become necessary later on. So we’re acting on the principle that a stitch in time saves nine.

Boris Johnson: (02:47)
The government will introduce new restrictions in England, carefully judged to achieve the maximum reduction in the R number with the minimum damage to lives and livelihoods. I want to stress that this is by no means a return to the full lockdown of March. We’re not issuing a general instruction to stay at home. We will ensure that schools, colleges, and universities stay open because nothing is more important than the education, health, and wellbeing of our young people. We will ensure that businesses can stay open in a COVID compliant way. However, we must take action to suppress the disease.

Boris Johnson: (03:28)
First, we are once again asking office workers who can work from home to do so. In key public services and in all professions where homeworking is not possible, such as construction or retail, people should continue to attend their workplaces. And like government, this House will be free to take forward its business in a COVID secure way, which you, Mr. Speaker, have pioneered.

Boris Johnson: (03:55)
Second, from Thursday, all pubs bars and restaurants must operate a table service only, Mr. Speaker, except for takeaways. Together with all hospitality venues, they must close at 10:00 PM. And to help the police enforce this rule, I’m afraid, that means alas closing and not just calling for last orders because simplicity is paramount. The same would apply to takeaways, though deliveries can continue thereafter. I’m sorry that this will affect any businesses just getting back on their feet, but we must act to stop the virus from being transmitted in bars and restaurants.

Boris Johnson: (04:36)
Third, we will extend the requirement to wear face coverings to include staff in retail, all users of taxis and private hire vehicles and staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat or drink.

Boris Johnson: (04:53)
Fourth, in retail, leisure and tourism and other sectors, our COVID secure guidelines will become legal obligations. Businesses will be fined and could be closed if they breach the rules.

Boris Johnson: (05:06)
Fifth, now is the time to tighten up the rule of six. I’m afraid that from Monday, a maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, though up to 30 can still attend a funeral as now. We will also have to extend the rule of six to all adult indoor team sports.

Boris Johnson: (05:29)
Finally, we have to acknowledge that the spread of the virus is now affecting our ability to reopen business conferences, exhibitions, and large sporting events. So we will not be able to do this from the 1st of October. And I recognize the implications for our sports clubs, which are the life and soul of our communities. And my Right Honorable Friends, the Chancellor and Culture Secretary are working urgently on what we can do now to support them.

Boris Johnson: (05:56)
Mr. Speaker, these rules, these measures will only work if people comply. And there is nothing more frustrating for the vast majority who do comply, the law abiding majority, than the sight of a few brazenly defining the rules. So these rules will be enforced by tighter penalties. We’ve already introduced a fine of up to 10,000 pounds for those who fail to safe isolate and such fines will now be applied to businesses breaking COVID rules. The penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will now double to 200 pounds for a first offense. We will provide the police and local authorities with the extra funding they need, a greater police presence on our streets, and the option to draw military support where required to free up the polices.

Boris Johnson: (06:52)
The measures I have announced all apply in England and the devolved administrations are taking similar steps. I spoke yesterday with each of the First Ministers and again today, and I thank them for their collaboration. The health of everyone in these items depends on our common success. Already, about 13 million people across England are living under various local restrictions over and above national measures. We will continue to act against local flare ups, working alongside councils and strengthening measures where necessary.

Boris Johnson: (07:29)
And I want to speak directly to those who were shielding early in the pandemic and who may be anxious about being at greater risk. Following advice from our senior clinicians, our guidance continues to be that you do not need to shield except in local lockdown areas, and we will keep this under constant review.

Boris Johnson: (07:54)
I must emphasize that if all our actions fail to bring the R below one, then we reserve the right to deploy greater fire power with significantly greater restrictions. I fervently want to avoid taking this step as do the devolved administrations. But we will only be able to avoid it if our new measures work and our behavior changes.

Boris Johnson: (08:23)
Mr. Speaker, we will spare no effort in developing vaccines treatments, new forms of mass testing. But unless we palpably make progress, we should assume that the restrictions I have announced will remain in place for perhaps six months.

Boris Johnson: (08:40)
For the time being, this virus is a fact of our lives. And I must tell the House and the country that our fight against it will continue. We will not listen to those who say let the virus rip nor to those who urge a permanent lockdown. We are taking decisive and appropriate steps to balance saving lives with protecting jobs and livelihoods. I know all of this will have profound consequences for our constituents, so the government will give the House every opportunity to scrutinize our decisions. In addition to regular statements and debates, honorable members will be able to question the government’s scientific advisors more regularly, gain access to data about their constituencies, your constituencies, and join daily calls with my Right Honorable Friend, the Paymaster General.

Boris Johnson: (09:44)
After six months of restrictions, it will be tempting to hope that the threat has faded and to seek comfort in the belief that if you have avoided the virus so far, then you are somehow immune. I have to say that it is that kind of complacency that could be our undoing. If we fail to act together now, we will not turn any place others at risk, but jeopardize our own futures with the more drastic action that we would inevitably be forced to take.

Boris Johnson: (10:24)
Mr. Speaker, no British government would wish to stifle our freedoms in the ways that we have found necessary this year. Yet even now, we can draw some comfort from the fact that schools and universities and places of worship are staying open, shops can serve their customers, construction workers can go to building sites, and the vast majority of the UK economy can continue moving forward. We are also, Mr. Speaker, better prepared for a second wave with the ventilators, the PPE, the dexamethazone, the Nightingale hospitals, and 100 times as much testing as we began this epidemic with.

Boris Johnson: (11:10)
So it now falls to each of us and every one of us to remember the basics. Wash our hands, cover our faces, observe social distancing, and follow the rules. Then we can fight back against this virus, shelter our economy from even greater damage, protect the most vulnerable in care homes and hospitals, safeguard our NHS, and save many more lives. And I commend this statement to the House.

Speaker 1: (11:44)
I now call the leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer. [crosstalk 00:11:49].

Keir Starmer: (11:49)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the Prime Minister for advanced sight of his statement and for his telephone call last night. Mr. Speaker, the picture presented yesterday by the government’s advisors were stark and cannot be ignored. Infections are rising, hospitalizations are rising. The trajectory is clear. And we know from bitter experience what happens next. So it is right that the Prime Minister is announcing further measures today and we support those measures, just as we supported lockdown in March and the more recent local lockdowns, although with fierce criticism of the way the government is handling this pandemic. When restrictions are needed, the national interest lies in clear communications and cross-party support. And so we will, as we’ve done before, encourage people to follow the government guidance and obey the rule of law.

Keir Starmer: (12:48)
Mr. Speaker, families across the country will be anxious today. Many are already living under local lockdowns. Many more fear that soon they will. They’re worried about their jobs, about their loved ones, and whether they will be able to spend Christmas with their families. They will also be worried that the government doesn’t have a clear strategy. One day people are encouraged to work in the office. In fact, more than encouraged. They were openly challenged by the Prime Minister for not doing so. Today they’re told the opposite. This is a time of national crisis where we need clear leadership. So it’s right the Prime Minister answer a number of serious questions about the next steps.

Keir Starmer: (13:29)
First, a number of areas in England already have localized restrictions, including some that are very similar to those announced today. Pubs and restaurants in Bolton, for example, have been told to shut at 10:00 PM for about two weeks. Lester’s been in localized restrictions for about three months. And yet the infections in those areas remain high. So can the Prime Minister be sure that the restrictions he’s introducing today will be effective at suppressing the virus? And if they don’t work, when does he envisage further measures might be necessary?

Keir Starmer: (14:01)
I also want to ask about the support for families and businesses. These restrictions will put further pressures on the hospitality sector on high streets and town centers, on people’s jobs and businesses. So what emergency financial support will be made available to those that need it? There was nothing in the Prime Minister’s statement about that. There’s a big gap here. And will he now accept that withdrawing the furlough scheme in one fell scoop would be a disaster and actually at complete odds with the measures he’s just announced for possibly up to six months? And would he take us up on our offer to work with him and trade unions of businesses on a replacement scheme that protects jobs and businesses?

Keir Starmer: (14:45)
Mr. Speaker, given the rise in infections, we’re seeing these restrictions are necessary, but they were not inevitable. We warned the Prime Minister months ago that testing need to be fixed by the autumn. The Academy of Medical Sciences told him the same in July. They said testing and tracing capacity will need to be significantly expanded to cope with the increased demands over the winter. But the government didn’t listen. They pretended there wasn’t a problem. They didn’t act quickly enough. Now the testing system isn’t working just when we need it.

Keir Starmer: (15:16)
We should also recognize that a second national lockdown is not inevitable. That would be a huge failure of government, not an act of God. There is still time to prevent it. That must be a national effort. Labour will do whatever is reasonable and necessary to support that to save lives, to protect the NHS, but the government must lead and must do so fast. [crosstalk 00:15:41]

Speaker 1: (15:40)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (15:42)
Well, Mr. Speaker, I’m grateful to the Right Honorable Gentleman for his support, though I noticed that it seems to come and go, but it seems to be here today. He criticizes testing. He should know, Mr. Speaker, as I’ve told the House many times, this country is now testing more than any other country in Europe. One test for every five people. And actually in spite of the massive increase in the demand for testing, we have greatly increased the number of contacts that are being reached from the index cases. And I think you should pay tribute to those who are involved in the whole testing operation, in spite of all the difficulties that they faced. He mentions the success of local lockdowns, and he’s absolutely right to draw attention to what happened in Lester, and that was a heroic effort of local people. And it’s happened in other parts of the country, local people pulling together to drive the virus down. That is what we hope to encourage throughout the country and that is certainly part of our strategy.

Boris Johnson: (16:41)
He asked, Mr. Speaker, about what we’re doing to support businesses, support families, and to support communities across the country as though we hadn’t already, quite rightly, spent 160 billion pounds, Mr. Speaker, to support business and jobs across the county, jobs [inaudible 00:16:56]. And we will continue to put our arms around the people of this country.

Boris Johnson: (16:59)
And Mr. Speaker, I’m grateful, as I say, for what he has said for the support strategies that he has offered. What I can tell is that in putting forward the message of support, I hope he will also say to everybody in his constituency and elsewhere that this is a balanced and a proportionate response to the crisis that we face. We are driving the virus down. That is our objective by these measures. But we are also, as I said Mr. Speaker, keeping the vast majority of the UK economy going. That is our program. That is what we intend to do. This is a package. This is a package to drive down the R, but also to allow education and jobs and the growth to continue. That is absolutely vital for the Right Honorable Gentlemen to understand. And I hope in his support, which I welcome, he will communicate that to the country as well. [crosstalk 00:00:17:58].

Speaker 1: (17:58)
Let’s head to [inaudible 00:17:58] with Dame Cheryl Gillen. Dame Cheryl Gillen.

Dame Cheryl Gillen: (18:01)
One of the most difficult decisions a Prime Minister has to take in a democracy as to restrict our freedoms for the greater good. And in the measures he’s announced today and the cross-party consensus, I think my Right Honorable Friend has sought balance and proportionality, as he says, protecting the economy whilst reducing the risk of the virus spreading like a wildfire.

Dame Cheryl Gillen: (18:21)
But with this six month timeframe he’s announced, what does he say to grandparents who want to live their lives before it’s too late and cannot see their families, to worried parents and families who cannot access a test at the moment, to workers and business owners facing financial ruin, and to MPs that want to debate these matters in Parliament before they are decided, not after, so they can help him shoulder this onerous responsibility? How can he convince all of them that he’s taking the right path and unite our country with hope of an end to this misery?

Boris Johnson: (18:59)
I thank my Right Honorable Friend. She’s entirely right that parliament should and will debate these issues. And Mr. Speaker, we will make time early next week in government time for a full debate on these measures.

Speaker 1: (19:13)
[inaudible 00:19:13] the SNP, Ian Blackford.

Ian Blackford: (19:16)
I thank you, Mr. Speaker. And can I thank the Prime Minister for advanced sight of his statement.

Ian Blackford: (19:21)
Mr. Speaker, we have reached the critical moment. The virus has not gone away, it’s not going away, and it remains as deadly as ever. I welcome the fact that following calls this weekend from our First Minister, a full nation [inaudible 00:19:38] meeting has taken place this morning. We have all witnessed the worrying rise in virus cases over the last number of weeks and we all know that the projections and consequences our society will face if it continues to grow at the same rate.

Ian Blackford: (19:51)
But we must also be clear about one thing. If we take the right actions now, there is nothing inevitable about the exponential spread of this virus. If we act decisively, if we move sharply, if we take the right, tough decisions now, we can get the virus back under control. We can minimize the time we all spend under new restrictions. And most importantly, we can save lives.

Ian Blackford: (20:17)
Mr. Speaker, today, governments across the four nations are rightly asking citizens to make more sacrifices to protect our collective health. In return for these sacrifices, it is only right that citizens are provided with financial support and that the health and economic uncertainty. Mr. Speaker, we are now just if you short weeks a week from the end of the furlough scheme. Analysis from the Scottish government has already shown that extending the scheme by eight months could save around 61,000 jobs in Scotland. France, Germany, and Ireland have already extended their job retention schemes into next year. But the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have rigidly refused to extend furlough. But we all know that u-turns and mixed messaging have come to define this government. On the 10th of July, the Prime Minister said, “Go back to work if you can.” On the 14th of August, the Chancellor said it was crucial that we do our bit such as going back to our place of work. And on the 27th of August, government sources said, “Go back to work or risk losing your job.” The Prime Minister has changed his advice this morning on working from home. It is now time to change his mind on furlough as well.

Ian Blackford: (21:32)
So today I have one question and it’s a question that 61,000 employees in Scotland are asking. Prime Minister, they deserve certainty and they deserve an answer. Will this government now save these jobs and extend the furlough scheme beyond October? Prime Minister, do not throw workers on the scrap heap through no fault of their own. [crosstalk 00:21:54].

Speaker 1: (21:52)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (21:54)
Well, Mr. Speaker, there was a great deal in the Right Honorable Gentleman’s question that I agreed with. And I think he’s right that we need to take decisive action now. And I’m very grateful for the-

Boris Johnson: (22:03)
That we need to take decisive action now, and I’m very grateful for the collaboration that we’ve all been engaging across the UK. Our objective, Mr. Speaker, is to keep businesses going and to keep the economy moving as much as we can, and indeed, to allow people to go back to work where they must but, of course, to work from home if they can. It’s very, very clear what the choices are and what the guidance is. And of course, we will continue to support businesses. We will continue to support people who face challenges because of Coronavirus throughout United Kingdom, and I would remind him that in Scotland alone, the [inaudible 00:00:43] consequential of the support, I think, are now well over five billion pounds. And across the whole of the UK, in the [inaudible 00:00:51] administrations, about 12.6 billion pounds. We will continue to send that support throughout the whole of the UK, to put our arms around the whole of the workforce of the UK, and to protect jobs and livelihoods. But what we also want to see is those businesses continuing and jobs being created.

Mr. Speaker: (23:11)
Jeremy [inaudible 00:00:23:11].

Jeremy: (23:12)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I support the measures announced today. The Prime Minister will have decided them with a heavy heart, but all the evidence from South Korea, Singapore, and other countries is that early decisive action now is the best way to avoid a second full lockdown later. I want to ask you about testing. We have tripled capacity since May, and we’ll double it again by the end of October. So, there has been a transformation, but we’re not there yet. How can he reassure a school in my constituency, which has a child who has tested positive, but they only get a quota of 10 tests every three weeks? And they are worried that they may have people who are passing on the virus asymptomatically that they’re not able to identify. What would he say to them and to schools up and down the country that are trying so hard to do the right thing?

Boris Johnson: (24:07)
Mr. Speaker, my right honorable friend is absolutely right, that we are and have massively increased testing across the country. We’re now prioritizing teachers, as he knows. He raises a very important point about school pupils, and there, there is a very interesting fact, which is that, actually, the rates of infection and transmission amongst school pupils are much lower than in the rest of the population. But I’m not going to hide it from him that the future I see for our country and the way to defeat this virus is massively to expand testing and not just for teachers and not just in schools, but throughout the country. And that is why I’m proud that NHS tests and traces, in spite of all the difficulties, which the right honorable [inaudible 00:24:55] others have legitimately pointed out, NHS test and trace is now conducting more test that any other country in Europe. I think we should be proud of that, Me. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: (25:04)
Sir Edward David.

Sir Edward David: (25:05)
Mr. Speaker, there was one major mission from the Prime Minister’s statement, an apology. So, will the government now apologize for his government’s gross incompetence over-testing, over tracing, over clear communications that have led to these latest restrictions on people’s daily lives? And Mr. Speaker, as families and business look forward, especially to Christmas, how will the government support the millions of people who are on the brink of losing their jobs, losing their businesses, losing their livelihoods? What is the new plan for them?

Mr. Speaker: (25:39)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (25:41)
Well, Mr. Speaker, the plan is that we should continue to keep the economy moving in the way that I have described and the way that the government has set out, in which I believe is supported by the opposition quite rightly, while suppressing the R whilst getting the virus done. That is our policy. Does he support it?

Mr. Speaker: (26:03)
Greg Clark.

Greg Clark: (26:04)
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. One of the lessons of the lockdown measures in the spring was that they worked, but almost everyone ended up wishing that they’d been introduced a week or two earlier, so I believe the Prime Minister’s right to act in anticipation rather than in reaction. But will he take the public into his confidence and say is the six months that he mentioned irrespective of the experience of infections and hospitalization over the weeks and months ahead? And what will be the criteria for lifting these restrictions and others like the rule of six?

Boris Johnson: (26:39)
Mr. Speaker, my right honorable friend asked a really important question, and the answer is, of course, that we must look at what the data tells us, and above all, we look at… There are several important data, but the R is perhaps the crucial one. But we also look at rates of admissions at hospitals and new infections. And if those facts change, if things turn around and if the British public can do what they did before and get this virus down and get it under control, then of course we will review the measures and review the situation, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: (27:14)
Sir Jeffrey Thomas.

Sir Jeffrey Thomas: (27:16)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, the prime minister’s right that testing is a vital part of the government’s response to the Coronavirus. And will he join me and commanding companies like Randox, Fortress Diagnostics in Northern Ireland, who played a vital role at national level in helping to deliver the government’s testing program? Indeed, Randox has committed 99% of its COVID testing capacity to that program. And on the 19th of September, they successfully reported almost 10,000 samples beyond the recommended daily rate. Will the Prime Minister consider providing access to testing through local community pharmacies to expand the capacity on public accessibility to testing at this time?

Boris Johnson: (28:02)
Yeah. Mr. Speaker, I do indeed congratulate Randox and all the other businesses involved, and we are massively expanding testing the whole time. I think it’s very important for the House to understand that testing alone cannot fix this problem [inaudible 00:06:22]. There is a hiatus in the logic of the attacks that is sometimes mounted. The problem that we have in the spread of this virus is that, alas, a minority of people have not been following the guidance in the way that they might have done, and what we’re trying to do now is to get everybody to focus on those rules, on that guidance, to enforce it strictly and to get the R down.

Mr. Speaker: (28:49)
[inaudible 00:28:49].

Speaker 2: (28:50)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the Prime Minister for all his hard work during these difficult, challenging times to keep us all safe. The Prime Minister will be aware that I’ve previously put forward two private members bills to improve mental health care provision for all, which was supported by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. This morning, I spoke with professor Alan Young from Kings College London, who raised with me real concerns with regards to the reduction in mental health care provision for those with severe, severe mental health issues during COVID-19. Will the Prime Minister, please, urgently look into this matter and the representations which I will forward it to his office from experts, such as Professor Young?

Mr. Speaker: (29:38)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (29:39)
Well, Mr. Speaker, I look forward to receiving those representations. I will study them carefully. As the House has heard before, Mr. Speaker, the government is spending 12 billion pounds more on mental health provision. Plus, throughout this pandemic, we’ve been putting extra cash into mental health charities, but I will certainly look at the case that he raises.

Mr. Speaker: (29:56)
Liz [inaudible 00:00:29:57].

Liz: (29:58)
[inaudible 00:29:58]. At the start of the pandemic, there were concerns that visitors just what gathering and crowds at beauty spots like [inaudible 00:30:03]. This happened again last weekend. Local lockdowns in Wales now require people to remain within their local authority area, except for essential reasons. No such requirements exists in England. In those unfortunate situations where people face local lockdowns, will he give clear guidance against out of area travel for leisure purposes?

Mr. Speaker: (30:26)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (30:27)
Well, Mr. Speaker, for local lockdowns, the guidance is given by the local authorities following the decision in [inaudible 00:30:34] about exactly what restrictions are ought to be placed, but clearly, the restriction she places is, as she suggests, is part of the mix.

Mr. Speaker: (30:41)
Steve Brian.

Steve Brian: (30:42)
And I thank the Prime Minister for his statement and for being here today in person answering our questions. Surely the reality, Prime Minister, is that national lockdown has one shot, and any repeat of that with the inevitable unlock that follows, reintroduces an increased element of opportunity for the virus and then risk for us as we’re seeing now. So, would the Prime Minister agree that all of these restrictions on our constituents’ lives require their ongoing consent, and it’s incumbent on government, the scientists who advise him, and parliament to stress test these decisions and crucially the evidence that lies behind them?

Mr. Speaker: (31:23)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (31:24)
Well, Mr. Speaker, I do agree with that, and I think it will be greatly to the advantage of the debate and to the country for these questions to be discussed in the highest, in the way that I’ve outlined, already proposed by our right honorable friendly member [inaudible 00:31:38].

Mr. Speaker: (31:39)
Caroline Lucas.

Caroline Lucas: (31:40)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The public have shown a vast capacity for putting others first during this pandemic, and now they’re being asked to do more. But in return, the government needs to do more for them. Public consent is dependent on not being forced into financial ruin. So, will he ensure that the sectors most effected, like hospitality and the arts, continue to get the financial support that they need? And in particular, will he meet with me and other honorable members to find solutions for over three million self-employed people who have not been covered by existing financial schemes? He says, he’s going to put his arms around the whole workforce. Many millions of the self-employed have not felt the benefit of that embrace.

Mr. Speaker: (32:20)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (32:21)
Well, Mr. Speaker, she raises an important point, and we have extended loans, grants to every conceivable sector of the economy and we will do more. 1.57 billion to the art sector alone, that she mentioned. And we will, of course, we will, of course, do more. But the most important thing you can do is [inaudible 00:32:42] the central message I’m trying to get over today is that we’ve got to push down on the R while simultaneously allowing as much of the economy to flourish as we possibly can, and that is our collective objective today.

Mr. Speaker: (32:56)
[inaudible 00:00:32:56].

Speaker 3: (32:58)
[inaudible 00:32:58] the country is now full of amateur infection control experts, amateur epidemiologists, the old captain hindsight, and I don’t tend to be one of those. But I must express to him the concern of constituents in my area where our seven day rolling average is now well below 20 and falling, where people have followed the rules, have seen people at protests, at street parties, not having action taken against them, and we will now suffer as a result of these further measures, though support them though I do. And in particular, hospitality will suffer. So, can I urge you to look again at the government’s plans to half the small brewers’ rate relief, which will damage small brewers, particularly craft brewers, and can we look again at that? This is not the time to be introducing such changes.

Mr. Speaker: (33:36)

Boris Johnson: (33:37)
Well, Mr. Speaker, he speaks eloquently. My honorable friend speaks adequately for his constituents and those who feel let down by the minority who are not enforcing and not obeying the rules. That’s why we’re outlining this program of tough enforcement today, and I will certainly [inaudible 00:33:54] from the Chancellor to look at the fiscal measures that he proposes in respect of small brewers.

Mr. Speaker: (34:01)
[inaudible 00:12:02].

Speaker 4: (34:03)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Prime Minister will have support for taking the necessary measures to contain and suppress the virus, but he is receiving a very strong message from both sides of the House today, that he does need to revisit the [e-commerce 00:34:16] support measures, particularly in light of changed circumstances, and bearing in mind the need to look at other creative and innovative solutions. So, therefore, will he accept, whatever the [inaudible 00:34:27] back at the beginning of July, there was a certain set of planning assumptions. Those no longer apply with the virus, therefore it isn’t [inaudible 00:34:36] to change course what they’re doing to support people, as well.

Mr. Speaker: (34:39)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (34:40)
Mr. Speaker, I acknowledged the point that the honorable gentleman has made, and it’s certainly our intention, as we go forward, to do everything we can, as I’ve said, to protect our lives, our livelihoods, and put our arms around everyone in this country. I think no one could deny that the Chancellor has been exceptionally creative and ambitious in the plans that he’s set out, and he will continue to apply the maximum possible imagination and creativity in this respect.

Mr. Speaker: (35:08)
Nick Fletcher.

Nick Fletcher: (35:10)
Thank you. Don Valley appreciates all the work the Prime Minister and his team are carrying out in response to the recent rise in the cases in COVID-19. That said, I must say to my right honorable friend that blanket restrictions are affecting all people of all ages immaterial the actual risk posed to them. Could the government therefore ask individuals to carry out a personal COVID risk assessment, the results of which could determine whether someone needs to shield or can go about their daily lives? This will help boost the economy while protecting the vulnerable. After all, many people’s lives have been affected tremendously by these restrictions, especially the young who, as we all know, are only young once.

Mr. Speaker: (35:50)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (35:51)
Mr. Speaker, my honorable friend really puts his finger on the heart of the problem of the dilemma, because, of course, the tragedy of the Coronavirus epidemic is that people who are not badly affected themselves can nonetheless pass it on unwittingly to older or more vulnerable people. So, your harmless cough can be someone else’s death now, unfortunately, and that is why we have to apply the restrictions that we do. But he’s right, also, to look ahead to a time when I do believe we will be able much more easily to identify, Mr. Speaker, whether or not we are infectious and to allow us, therefore, to go back to our daily lives more easily, young and old.

Mr. Speaker: (36:34)
[inaudible 00:36:34] Jones.

Jones: (36:35)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. By 6:00 PM this evening, both the local authorities covering my constituency will be under Welsh government local lock down restrictions, aimed at slowing the spread of the virus. Among the restrictions will be a restriction on holiday travel, meaning that constituents will not be able to go on planned holidays, and some holiday companies are refusing refunds on the grounds that local restrictions are not covered by UK law and pointed, instead, to Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice on travel. So, what can the Prime Minister do to support constituents in this case, and what is his message to those holiday companies?

Mr. Speaker: (37:13)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (37:13)
Mr. Speaker, he asked an excellent question, and it’s not an anomaly that I [inaudible 00:37:18] been aware of, but if you would care to write to me with the details of his constituents concerns, I will certainly take it up.

Mr. Speaker: (37:25)
[inaudible 00:37:26].

Speaker 5: (37:27)
Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, [inaudible 00:37:30] Hospital in my constituency did an amazing job at the heart of the outbreak, as did many of my local GP surgeries. However, they were under huge pressure. Therefore, would the Prime Minister consider extending the ability of local pharmacies and chemists to administer health treatment so these gems on our high street able to ease the pressure on our health system?

Mr. Speaker: (37:54)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (37:54)
I thank my honorable friend, and he’s completely right, that pharmacies and chemists are in the front line of our healthcare and do an absolutely outstanding job in testing people for all kinds of things, COVID amongst them, and we will certainly support them in any way that we can.

Mr. Speaker: (38:11)
Let’s head to Kenneth MacAskill in Scotland. Kenneth MacAskill.

Kenneth MacAskill: (38:15)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We may well have to endure for six months or more, but it’s less than six weeks until [inaudible 00:38:23] scheme ends. Germany, France, and even Ireland are extending [inaudible 00:38:27] schemes for specific sectors. It’s a political not a health decision. Many communities in my constituency were devastated by political decisions made by a Tory government in the 1980s that reaped mass unemployment. Are they now to have that revisited upon them in 2020, or will the Prime Minister extend the [inaudible 00:38:51] scheme?

Mr. Speaker: (38:52)
Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson: (38:53)
Well, Mr. Speaker, the comparisons with other European countries are actually illuminating because the [inaudible 00:38:59] scheme was far more generous than either Germany or France or virtually any other country in Europe. And what we will continue to do is, as I said repeatedly to the House, is to put our arms around the workers of this country to make sure that we help people throughout the crisis. But also, as I have told you before, Mr. Speaker, to do everything we can to keep our economy moving and keep people in work wherever we can.

Mr. Speaker: (39:25)
Let’s head down to Devon with Mel Stride. Mel Stride.

Mel Stride: (39:30)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I very much welcome the balanced and proportionate set of measures that my right honorable friend has put together, and also recognize that these are very finely balanced and very difficult decisions for him to take. But lock downs, as I think my right honorable friend recognizes, destroy jobs and also personal wellbeing, and the fact that lock downs have damaged our economy means that in the years ahead, a smaller economy will probably have serious impacts on the health of millions of people up and down our country. So, does my right honorable friend recognize that, yes, we should listen very carefully to the epidemiologists, but we must also listen very carefully to the treasury, to businesses, and to economists, too.

Mr. Speaker: (40:14)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (40:14)
Mr. Speaker, My right honorable friend is spot on. That’s why we have to take action now to avoid the risk of having to take more drastic action later on that would do greater economic damage, and that is the key point of what we’re doing today.

Mr. Speaker: (40:30)
We’re heading up to Kingston upon Hull with Dame Diana Johnson. Dame Diana.

Dame Diana Johnson: (40:35)
Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Can the Prime Minister explain why our new test center opening today on Hull University land for students and the local community, and one of course of which I welcome, will be run by private firms Deloitte and G4S with no accountability to local bodies with statutory public health responsibilities for the local community or the university who are, of course, responsible for their students? How does this silo approach, that the Prime Minister has created around testing, help us to have a joined up approach that we all want in Hull to tackle this pandemic?

Mr. Speaker: (41:13)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (41:13)
Well, Mr. Speaker, I will study what she says about the testing unity in Hull University, but everywhere across the country, NHS test and trace has been working hand in glove with local authorities to get testing done, working hand in glove with public health. England, of course, with all our public services. And I’m surprised by what she says about the testing unit at Hull University, but I will certainly ask NHS test and trace to give her a full explanation. But in my experience, everything is done to enlist and mobilize the expertise of local government to get the testing done.

Mr. Speaker: (41:53)
Richard Fuller.

Richard Fuller: (41:54)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Many people are concerned with this dominant focus on COVID that people who need NHS treatment for other illnesses, or are seeking elective surgery, are going to be pushed further back in the queue. So, can the Prime Minister assure us and make sure that the Health Secretary gives a priority to communicating the progress in dealing with the backlog in these surgeries as we go through the winter period?

Mr. Speaker: (42:16)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (42:17)
thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Of course, we must do everything we can to ensure that our NHS is not overwhelmed with COVID cases, and it’s when you have a COVID crisis, a boom in COVID cases, that, as he rightly points out, other needs, other cardiac, cancer cases are pushed off. And that is completely wrong, and that’s why it is so vital now that we suppress the R, that we drive the rate of infection done, and we stop a boom in COVID cases, because that is the threat to our NHS and to the provision of all the basic services on which our country relies

Mr. Speaker: (42:54)
[inaudible 00:00:42:55].

Speaker 6: (42:56)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Prime Minister’s objective does rely on the local public health effort, and I want to thank the local NHS in Bristol, Bristol City Council, and Public Health England in the Southwest for the remarkable work they are doing. But reorganizing health services always distracts from their job, it destroys morale, and it wastes money. So, can the Prime Minister explain to us the benefits of abolishing Public Health England in the middle of this crisis? And if he can’t, will he commit now to reversing that decision, at least, until we have an inquiry?

Mr. Speaker: (43:27)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (43:27)
Well, I think it’s absolutely essential that we have the most powerful possible public health organization in this country, and the National Biosecurity Center now needs to come together with Public Health England to deliver what I believe will be a better service for this country. In fact, the change to which she refers doesn’t happen until next year, but we’re getting it underway now.

Mr. Speaker: (43:50)
[inaudible 00:21:51].

Speaker 7: (43:52)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I know the Prime Minister is a true Libertarian, and he must’ve agonized over the decision of today and over recent months, but my constituents in [inaudible 00:44:01] are concerned about a second national lockdown.

Speaker 8: (44:03)
But my constituents in [inaudible 00:44:01] are concerned about a second national lockdown, about schools closing, about businesses shutting down. Does my right honorable friend agree that individual responsibility is more important today than it’s ever been, and will he confirm that he will do everything he can to avoid a second full national lockdown.

Boris Johnson: (44:15)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my honorable friend. The whole objective today is to avoid that second national lockdown. Nobody wants to see that, and he’s indeed right to point the finger at us all. We can do this together if we take responsibility for the way we behave, the way we enforce the rules, the way we act in public places, that is how we will get the R down collectively and defeat the virus.

Speaker 9: (44:44)
[inaudible 00:00:44].

Speaker 10: (44:45)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, back in July, the government introduced the planning and the [inaudible 00:44:51] bill, which allowed the sale of alcohol off the premises and the consumption off the premises for as long as the license of those licenses permitted. Today, just weeks later, the prime minister has come to the House saying that there will be no sales, no service and hospitality after 10:00 at night. Can he explain the rationale behind that 10:00 curfew and the very fast turn of a change of plan by the government?

Speaker 9: (45:15)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (45:16)
She’s raising a very important point and I’m grateful. And as members have said across the House, these are not easy decisions. Nobody wants to be curtailing the right of restaurants and other businesses to go about their lawful business. What we’ve seen from the evidence is that, alas, the spread of the disease does tend to happen later at night, after more alcohol has been consumed. This is one way that we see of driving down the R without doing excessive economic damage, and that’s the balance we have to strike.

Speaker 9: (45:50)
Heading up to [inaudible 00:45:51] and Lanarkshire with Mark [Mentas 00:01:52]. Mark Mentas.

Mark Mentas.: (45:54)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Can I welcome the measures that the right honorable friend, the prime minister has laid before the house today? Can I also say to him that people who are vulnerable to COVID are also extremely vulnerable to seasonal flu, a disease that’s killed over 11,000 people last year in the UK alone, but it is also one of the biggest sources of winter pressures upon NHS? In the summer the government promised one of the largest flu vaccination programs in history. Can the right honorable friend update the House on what’s been done to deliver this?

Speaker 9: (46:24)
Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson: (46:26)
Yes, indeed I can, Mr. Speaker. I can tell my honorable friend that the biggest flu vaccine program is going ahead as we speak and 30 million people will be able to have a flu jab this ultimate and I thoroughly advise members to get one.

Speaker 9: (46:48)
Heading up to Livingston, to Hannah Bardell. Hannah Bardell.

Hannah Bardell: (46:49)
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. There is a wee whiff of hypocrisy, because as the prime minister and his cabinet bring in new measures to combat COVID-19, the prime minister needs to tell us how he expects citizens across the UK to follow his rules and laws when he and his government are openly admitting that they’re willing to break international law and treaties themselves.

Speaker 9: (47:12)
Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson: (47:14)
Mr. Speaker, I think everybody in this House wants to see the people of this country and to help the people in this country to obey the law of the land and to get the virus done and that is the objective of this government.

Speaker 9: (47:27)
Dr. Caroline Johnson.

Dr. Caroline Johnson: (47:28)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker children are very unlikely to be harmed by this virus, and they’re also less likely to spread it, but in my roles as a children’s doctor, as a member of the education select committee, and as a constituency MP, I’ve seen examples of where children have been harmed by not being in school. Can my right honorable find the prime minister reassured this House that he will do everything within his power to keep schools open?

Speaker 9: (47:51)
Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson: (47:52)
Yes, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank her for what she does, but also the tens of millions of parents, teachers, pupils up and down the country who rose to the occasion at the beginning of this month and did go back to school and in overwhelming numbers. They are still at school in spite of the difficulties that they are currently facing. She is so right. It is vital for children, young people to be in school, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that that remains the case.

Speaker 9: (48:21)
[inaudible 00:04:21].

Speaker 11: (48:22)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The prime minister will no doubt be aware of the alarming rate at which coronavirus cases are rise rising among BAME groups, and in particular among the Asian population with some 34% of coronavirus patients in intensive care right now being from ethnic minorities. Could he tell the House how he thinks shutting pubs an hour earlier will address this worrying trend and what action has his government taken to tackle the disproportionate impact on ethnic minorities since PHE published its report in June?

Speaker 9: (48:59)
Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson: (49:00)
Well, I thank her very much for the question. What we’ve done, as she knows possibly already, is that we have targeted testing and protection for those in frontline groups, many of whom come from black and minority ethnic groups. What we’re also doing in order to stop the spread of infection in some communities is working much, much harder with local government and local communities to get the messaging into those communities about the risks of transmission and the basic rules about hands, face, space, that’s among some of the things that we’re doing.

Speaker 9: (49:41)
Heading down to Chatham to Tracey Crouch. Tracey?

Tracey Crouch: (49:45)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Sport and physical activity contributes over 16-billion pounds to the UK economy. It directly employs over 600,000 people and indirectly many more. It has an ecosystem that reaches beyond the pitch, field, court or pool, and its social value, which includes physical and mental wellbeing, is estimated at more than 72-billion pounds. Yet right now, both [inaudible 00:50:09] of rugby, football, cricket, netball, hockey, tennis, swimming, to name but a few, are in a perilous situation due to spectators not being able to return and venues unable to host income-raising events such as conferences. Sports, and all it directly and indirectly involves, cannot continue to face these kinds of losses. Given today’s announcement, which pauses the return of spectators, will the prime minister elaborate on his comments regarding a financial support package to ensure that it isn’t left decimated after the pandemic?

Speaker 9: (50:41)
Prime minister?

Boris Johnson: (50:43)
My right honorable friend is absolutely right to draw attention to the huge importance of sport to our national economy and to our wellbeing, and that’s why my right honorable friend, Secretary of Culture, Media and Sport is now working flat out with the Premier League and others to identify ways in which we can keep these clubs going. We can support sport at all levels throughout the pandemic. One of the things that we’re not doing, as she will appreciate today, is we’re not stopping outdoor physical acts of exercise. We’re not stopping team sports outside. We want that to continue, but that’s why it’s vital that we enforce the package of measures that we have outlined today.

Speaker 9: (51:25)
Greg Morris.

Greg Morris: (51:27)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You’ll be aware of the recent imposition of further restrictions in the Northeast of England. First of all, can I thank the prime minister for listening and acting upon concerns both individually and collectively from the Northern group of [inaudible 00:51:45] MPs about informal childcare arrangements in my constituency under this. However, before he feels my warm embrace, can I ask him in relation to the latest announcement on restrictions on businesses, can I ask him to provide assurances to businesses in my constituency, by outlining what sector-specific support his government will offer to those worst effected by COVID such as the coach sector, which is on the brink of collapse due to government inaction in the main and the failure to listen to the Honk For Hope campaign.

Speaker 9: (52:26)
Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson: (52:27)
We will do whatever we can to support the coach sector and indeed all other sectors across the country. We, as he knows, have put into place a massive program of loans, of grants and support of all kind. But it is clear that the best thing for businesses in his constituency and across the country is not to paralyze the economy now, not to go back into lockdown, but to defeat the virus in so far as we possibly can and allow the economy to move forward. But we will continue to give whatever help we can.

Speaker 9: (53:03)
Steve Baker.

Steve Baker: (53:04)
Mr. Speaker, I’m thankful for my right honorable friend’s commitments on parliamentary scrutiny. He’ll know many members of the House and of the public are concerned about the use of delegated powers. I’m sure he’ll remember the sifting committee from the EU withdraw elect. Could I invite him to please consider whether some innovative thinking can be applied to make sure that the authority of this House is brought to bear in advance on these measures so that the public can have confidence that their representatives are authorizing the use of law to constrain their freedom?

Speaker 9: (53:36)
Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson: (53:36)
Yes, Mr. Speaker. Under the current procedures, it is up to the House to confirm that the executive does have the power to continue with measures under the coronavirus act, and that will continue to be the case. We are additionally offering, insisting, Mr. Speaker, that there should be a proper debate of these issues in Parliament because there are many different opinions in Parliament and I think people need to air them together.

Speaker 9: (54:01)
Stephen Timms.

Stephen Timms: (54:01)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Children were delighted to return to their primary schools earlier this month, but not surprisingly after six months of isolation, coughs and colds have spread rapidly amongst them since. We’ve been reminded that each primary school has just 10 COVID tests. When will primary schools have the wherewithal to test children and staff with symptoms to avoid spreading the virus at school and also avoid unnecessary school closures?

Speaker 12: (54:28)
Here, here.

Speaker 9: (54:29)
Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson: (54:30)
Well, Mr. Speaker, he’s spot on about what’s been happening within schools. Sadly, I think in many cases we’ve seen a rise in the demand for tests because people are reasonably unable to distinguish between the symptoms of COVID or a seasonal cough or cold. We’re trying to address it as fast as we possibly can. But the one constellation we have in this is two things: Children are much less likely to suffer seriously from the disease, if at all, and they’re much less capable, it seems, of spreading it.

Speaker 9: (55:07)
[inaudible 00:55:08].

Speaker 13: (55:09)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the prime minister for his statement and for his steadfast service to our country during this very difficult time.

Speaker 12: (55:16)
Here, here.

Speaker 13: (55:17)
The prime minister understands the longterm harm a second lockdown would cause to people across the country, to their health, their lives, their livelihoods, as they try their very best to get back on their feet. Will the prime minister consider targeting protective measures for those most at risk rather than deploying the blunt instrument, which is lockdown, which we know causes so much suffering and which offers no hope of a cure?

Speaker 9: (55:42)
Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson: (55:43)
Well, Mr. Speaker, she’s right about both things and where we are doing everything we can to protect particularly those in care homes who are so vulnerable as we saw in the early stages of this pandemic. We’ve massively increased the winter plan, action plan for care homes, another 546 million gone in stopping movement between care homes and taking the very tough decision to stop visits to the care homes in lockdown areas, which is very, very difficult for elderly people who are in a care home. The reason that we’re taking those measures and now those difficult measures now, Mr. Speaker, is because we want to avoid another national lockdown, exactly the type that she rightly wants to avoid.

Speaker 9: (56:29)
[inaudible 00:12:29].

Speaker 14: (56:30)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Some of my constituents have been waiting four days, five days, or even longer to get their test results back. The government rightly promised in July that 80% of in-person tests would get their results in 24 hours from booking, that is now down to below 20%. That is dangerous. It means people are not in the tracing system. It means their contacts aren’t being traced. It makes it easier for the virus to spread and it makes it more likely that we will face even tougher restrictions that the prime minister has described across the whole country. Given that the government made so many mistakes on testing in the first wave, we cannot afford for him to get this wrong again now. When will that 80% target now be met?

Speaker 9: (57:22)
Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson: (57:23)
Well, Mr. Speaker, in spite of the massive increase in testing that we’ve seen, a 10% decrease in capacity just in the last 10 days or so, we are seeing at the moment 64% of people getting their results in 24 hours. I do want to get that up as fast as possible to 80%. What I can tell her is that we will double our testing capacity by the end of October to 500,000 tests a day. We are already testing more people than any other country in Europe.

Speaker 9: (58:00)
Permission to lend a question, Bob Lightman.

Bob Lightman: (58:03)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I welcome my right honorable friend’s statements and clear statement of purpose to conquer this terrible virus. One of the key concerns locally, however, has been the failure to comply with the regulations of wearing a face covering in shops and on public transport. Clearly, with these new restrictions coming into place, one of the key issues is going to be sure that people actually comply with these requirements. Equally, people do not want to get to a position whereby they’re forced to wear a face covering in the open air, just going about their normal business. Can my right honorable friend state for the House what he’s going to do to make sure that the message gets across to people that failing to comply with these rules is really selfish and potentially placing other people at risk?

Speaker 9: (58:56)
Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson: (58:57)
Well, my honorable friend is spot on, and that’s why we’re increasing the fines from 100 pounds to 200 pounds. You’re protecting yourself, you’re protecting other people. You wear a face covering where you should.

Speaker 9: (59:06)
Heading to Leeds with Richard Burgon. Richard Burgon?

Richard Burgon: (59:10)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Shamefully, the UK’s had one of the highest coronavirus death rates in the world. If we’d had Germany’s deaths per million rate, we’d have over 30,000 fewer coronavirus deaths. If we’d had the much lower death rates of South Korea and New Zealand, we’d have over 40,000 fewer deaths. Will the prime minister take responsibility for our unacceptably high death rates? And to avoid a repeat this winter, will he now pursue the zero COVID strategy the Independent SAGE is calling for, and that countries like South Korea and New Zealand are successfully implementing?

Speaker 9: (59:51)
Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson: (59:52)
Mr. Speaker, what we’re pursuing with the support of the opposition is a policy of driving this virus down whilst allowing our education and our economy to continue. I hope that he will lend his support to that effort as well.

Speaker 9: (01:00:08)
Paul [Brister 01:00:10].

Paul Brister: (01:00:08)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the prime minister for his statement and for his leadership during this crisis, but will he also commit to a vote in this House prior to any further steps towards a full second national lockdown?

Speaker 9: (01:00:24)
Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson: (01:00:26)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my honorable friend for his question. We are continuing to expand testing and tracing. It is by driving down this virus that we will, I believe, be able to take the country forward to a much, much brighter future. If people focus on the measures that we’ve outlined today, particularly on obeying the guidance for social distancing, that together we will defeat COVID.

Speaker 9: (01:00:58)
Heading to Scotland with Peter Grant. Peter Grant?

Peter Grant: (01:01:03)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It’s clear this afternoon that there’s a significant level of agreement across the House that the restrictions the prime minister has announced alone on this is somewhat popular and necessary. There’s also a great deal of cross-party agreement that support schemes for businesses need to be extended at the same time as the restrictions are extended. Can I ask the prime minister, rather than simply rejecting it out of hand, to agree to the invitation to speak to business leaders, to trade union leaders and to opposition parties to put together a financial support scheme, not only for those employees who currently rely on and follow, but for the tens of thousands of small business owners who have been left without any support at all during the last six months?

Speaker 9: (01:01:46)
Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson: (01:01:48)
Mr. Speaker, I’ve had the opportunity in the course of the last few months to talk to many businesses up and down the country, across Scotland, and they have been uniformly appreciative of the support that the government has given so far, I must say. We will ensure, as I said earlier on, that we will maintain a very creative and imaginative approach in helping those businesses. But the best thing we can do is fight the virus and keep the economy moving.

Speaker 9: (01:02:16)
[inaudible 00:18:16].

Speaker 15: (01:02:17)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the PM for his statement and he is right to say that is the cooperation and good sense of the British public that has saw the spread of this difficult outbreak curtailed. My constituents will continue to do exactly what’s required of them, but the truth is that Cromer has a very low rate of COVID-19, and this has been the case throughout. What message of hope can the prime minister give to teenagers who are going to school and colleges being asked to wear a face masks when not in class, to churchgoers who are being blocked from freedom of worship, and to businesses who have yet to open and are continually frustrated from doing so?

Speaker 9: (01:02:50)
Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson: (01:02:52)
Well. Mr. Speaker, The churchgoers will continue to have freedom of worship under these proposals. We want life as far as we possibly can to keep going as normally as possible. We want the economy to keep moving. But what I think are the best hope I can offer to his constituencies, for whom he fights so valiantly, is that we get this virus back under control and take the country forward and keep the economy moving, and that is the best prospect for our country.

Speaker 9: (01:03:23)
Ben Bradshaw?

Ben Bradshaw: (01:03:26)
Does he think that the reason Germany and Italy have far lower COVID rates than us, with life continuing more or less normally, might be because they have locally and publicly-run test and trace services that actually work?

Speaker 16: (01:03:45)
Here, here.

Speaker 9: (01:03:45)
Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson: (01:03:45)
No, Mr. Speaker, I don’t. I think the continual attacks on local test and trace and what the NHS test and trace have done are undermining and unnecessary. Actually, there is an important difference between our country and many other countries around the world, and that is our country is a freedom-loving country, Mr. Speaker. If you look at the history of this country over the last 300 years, virtually every advance from free speech to democracy, has come from this country. It is very difficult to ask the British population uniformly to obey guidelines in the way that it is necessary. What we’re saying today is that collectively, and I’m answering his question directly, collectively the way to do this, the way to do this is for us all to follow the guidelines, which we will strictly enforce and get the R down. That’s the way forward.

Speaker 9: (01:04:38)
Rob Roberts.

Rob Roberts: (01:04:39)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Appreciating the frustrations for people who currently have symptoms and are finding it difficult to get tests currently, would my right honorable friend agree with me that capacity going up by over 10% in the last few weeks, four new labs coming online, and hundreds of additional staff, we can reach our target of half-a-million tests a day by the end of October? Would he agree with me that it would be an amazing achievement against a virus that we were only first learning about a few short months ago?

Speaker 9: (01:05:05)
Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson: (01:05:06)
Mr. Speaker, I do. It will not surprise my honorable friend to know that I fervently agree with the way he characterizes the achievements of NHS test and trace. I think that his optimism and his encouragement of NHS test and trace could reasonably be echoed on the benches opposite.

Speaker 9: (01:05:26)
Heading up to greater Manchester with Afzal Khan. Afzal Khan?

Afzal Khan: (01:05:31)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Manchester is home to two of the largest universities in the country with a combined student body of nearly 80,000, many of whom choose to live in my constituency of Manchester Gorton. With so many students returning to the area, this is an incredibly difficult time for the community, the students and their families who are concerned for their safety. With a surge in infections and the second wave now evident, what advice does the government intend-

Afzal Khan: (01:06:03)
Now in evident, what advice does the government intend on giving to universities on keeping their students, staff, and the wider community safe?

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:06:12)
Prime minister.

Boris Johnson: (01:06:13)
Gentlemen, the most important thing is that the students who are now back at university in large numbers should, like everybody else, follow the guidelines. It’s also important, Mr. Speaker, where there are outbreaks in universities, that students should not be going home to infect their older relatives.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:06:35)
Huw Merriman.

Huw Merriman: (01:06:36)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The districts of Wealden and Rother that comprise my constituency have recorded in the last week just four covid conditions per 100,000 population each. Can I ask the Prime Minister, he said that palpable progress would need to be made if this is not to last for six months, in terms of his new measures. Can I ask him to consider whether those areas that have lower rates will be freed from these restrictions, perhaps earlier, if progress is indeed made across the nation?

Boris Johnson: (01:07:06)
Of course, Mr. Speaker. That’s why we’re confining our hopes and our confidence in a local, regional approach rather than a blanket, one size fits all, national approach. We hope that those areas that are complying with the rules and those people … There’s many, many, the vast majority that are complying with the rules, will be able to see the opportunity that he describes.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:07:33)
[inaudible 00:01:07:33].

Speaker 17: (01:07:34)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Prime Minister calls it NHS Test and Trace, but wouldn’t it be more accurate to call it Serco Test and Trace? It has been outsourced, like other health contracts, often to friends and family members of Tory MPs lining their pockets while taking the public for a ride. In spite of its record of failure, last week Serco was handed another Test and Trace contract worth £45 million. Mr. Speaker, these giant corporations put private profit before public health. Isn’t it time to end the scandal of outsourcing, and bring these contracts into public hands for a genuine NHS Test and Trace?

Boris Johnson: (01:08:11)
I have to say, I think she’s grossly undermining the huge effort of local authorities that are an integral part of NHS Test and Trace. They’re doing a magnificent job. I thank each and every one of those individuals for what they are doing, and we’re putting another £300 million into supporting our local authorities deliver Test and Trace. Of course, it’s right that we should reach out across the entire UK economy to help them, and indeed, the armed services to help us deliver on this enormous project. We’ll continue to do so.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:08:42)
Douglas Ross.

Douglas Ross: (01:08:43)
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, I welcome the work that’s been done across the four nations in recent days, as people expect our governments to work together and unite as we tackle this virus. Given these restrictive measures could be with us across the UK for the six months or longer, what guarantee can the prime minister give us that this UK government will continue to support Scottish employers and workers in areas affected by these majors when the furlough scheme ends?

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:09:11)
Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson: (01:09:12)
Well, I thank my honorable friend and as I’ve said to Scottish colleagues across the house, we will continue to put our arms around workers and firms, businesses around jobs across the country. That’s why the furlough scheme was rolled out, the most imaginative and most generous of any such scheme in Europe. As I said, we’re providing for every person in Scotland, an extra £1200 to help fight coronavirus and £5.3 billion more announced just this summer alone. Mr. Speaker, the people of Scotland and the people of the whole UK can count on this government to stand by them throughout the crisis.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:09:56)
Jim Shannon.

Jim Shannon: (01:09:57)
I thank the Prime Minister for his statement today, but can the Prime Minister confirm that scheduled surgeries, such as hip replacement, removal of tonsils, cancer surgeries, diabetic screening, and treatment will continue with high standards of protection in place, and that we will not see people falling through the gaps, and those in the long waiting lists will be reduced?

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:10:18)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (01:10:18)
Speaking to the whole objective of trying to prevent another boom in coronavirus suffering, a boom in coronavirus patients, is to protect the NHS and to allow scheduled surgery of the kind he describes to continue.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:10:32)
Jonathan Gullis.

Jonathan Gullis: (01:10:33)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Unfortunately, in Stoke-on-Trent and [inaudible 00:04:36], schools such as the Excel Academy and Ormiston Horizon Academy had staff and students testing positive for coronavirus. Would my right honorable friend share my concerns about staff and students being away from the classroom as they await testing, and would he agree with me that school should be prioritized for testing to ensure both staff and students are back in the classroom as soon as possible?

Boris Johnson: (01:10:55)
Yes, indeed, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank students, staff or students in his constituency and across the country for the 99.9% of schools that are now back open again. The vast majority of pupils are back in their schools. They should have confidence to be there. They’re in the right places by far, the best place for them to be. We are sending out new test kits the whole time. There’s an online portal through which every school can now access the tests that they need.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:11:30)
Kim Johnson.

Kim Johnson: (01:11:32)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Liverpool begins local lockdown measures today. When restrictions were first imposed, six months ago, the Prime Minister outlined a package of financial support for local government. We did all that was asked of us, but we have now been left with a £23 million funding gap. What support is the Prime Minister able to announce today for hard hit councils?

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:11:55)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (01:11:55)
Well, Mr. Speakers, I’ve told the young lady before, I believe we put about £3. 7 billion into supporting our local government. We’ll continue to support local government. I’ll look at the £23.8 million funding gap that she raises with me today.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:12:09)
Stephen Crabb.

Stephen Crabb: (01:12:10)
Thank you. Mr. Speaker, while working from home has been great for many, for senior managers living in larger properties with nice gardens, that hasn’t been the experience for great many others living in cramped, overcrowded accommodation. Does my right noble friend recognize that there’ll be dismayed today amongst those people for whom a return to the covid secure workplaces have been so important for mental, physical, social wellbeing? It feels like it will be a long six months for them having to work back in their own homes.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:12:42)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (01:12:43)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my right honorable friend, but it’s very important that he should not misunderstand what we’re saying today. Where people are must go into work for their job, for their mental health, for their wellbeing or whatever it happens to be, then of course, they should do so. What we’re saying is that you should work from home if you can. I hope that he appreciates the distinction and gives his constituents that reassurance.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:13:04)
Heading up to Scotland with Marion Fellows. Marion Fellows?

Marion Fellows: (01:13:09)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The chancellor pledged at the start of this crisis that the UK Parliament would do whatever it takes to help people. The Prime Minister has said today that he will put his arms around the workers of this country. If these statements are to be believed, will the Prime Minister commit to extending the furlough to save jobs in Motherwell and Wishaw and across the UK. For those not in work, will he make permanent the £20 uplift to universal credit, and extend this uplift to all legacy benefits?

Boris Johnson: (01:13:45)
Well, I’m glad, Mr. Speaker, that she draws attention to the increase in a universal credit, probably worth about £4,000 to the poorest families in our country. I’m proud of what we’ve done also on the living wage. I can tell her that, of course we will continue to support people across this country, but the most important thing, to repeat my point, Mr. Speaker, is for the economy to keep moving, for jobs to be created, and for people to get back into work.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:14:13)
Jason McCartney.

Jason McCartney: (01:14:14)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My Colne Valley constituency, as part of Kirklees, goes back into local restrictions today. Mr. Speaker, we’ve just heard about these new measures, which may last up to six months, taking us through the busy Christmas period. Can I ask the Prime Minister to ask the chancellor if he will now lay out a financial support package for hospitality, the likes of the wedding industry, marquee companies, small breweries, freelance musicians and performers, even event venues, and many, many more whose livelihoods will be impacted by the measures he’s announced today?

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:14:51)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (01:14:52)
Mr. Speaker, the sectors that he refers to have in many respects already been provided for and supported, but clearly there will be further demands. I know that to my right honorable friend, that the chancellor will be applying, as I say, his imagination and his creativity to helping those sectors in the months ahead. The best thing for them is to get back to life, to as close to normal as possible by getting this virus down. That is the point of the package of measures that we’re announcing today.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:15:29)
Navendu Mishra.

Navendu Mishra: (01:15:30)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Last week, I received a letter from the Health Minister informing me that a new covid testing center would be available for my Stockport constituents, some 240 miles away at the University of Greenwich campus in Kent. Whilst I’m willing to accept that this may have been an administrative error, it is entirely possible that the letter is accurate. Given many of my constituents already having to travel more than 70 miles away for test in Telford, isn’t it time that this government got to grip and provided comprehensive testing like our partner countries, will its shambolic handling of this pandemic once again lead to the highest covid death toll in Europe, in the eminent second wave?

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:16:09)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (01:16:10)
Mrs. Speaker, I’m afraid I must correct his figures. We’re now testing more than any other country in Europe and the median journey is, I think, about 5.8 miles and no journey is permitted to be more than 75 miles. I don’t recognize the figures that I’ve heard from him.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:16:29)
Chris Clarkson.

Chris Clarkson: (01:16:30)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My constituency, Heywood and Middleton, is one of several under local measures and has been several weeks. I’d like to pay tribute to my constituents, businesses, individuals, and families who have made great sacrifices to keep this country safe. In welcoming today’s statement, can I ask the Prime Minister for an assurance that this represents a circuit break and not a hard wiring of policy and that as this is reviewed, we will follow all the scientific data to make sure we get back to normal as soon as possible?

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:16:55)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (01:16:58)
Yes, Mr. Speaker. The intention of these measures is connectively to depress the art, but to keep the economy and education functioning. That’s what we’re trying to do.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:17:08)
Heading up to Gateshead with ‎Ian Mearns. ‎Ian Mearns‎?

‎Ian Mearns‎: (01:17:12)
‎ Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Can the Prime Minister, for the sake of absolute clarity and for the removal of any doubt over potential mixed messaging, please confirm that what he’s announced today in terms of measures in the national context, does not supersede or dilute the more stringent measures announced last week for Tyne and Wear, Northumberland, and Durham, where case numbers have sadly been growing rapidly despite the local reduction in testing capacity. Will you also confirm what additional support you will put in place for businesses and workers in the Northeast in sectors where activity has been greatly reduced by covid restrictions?

Boris Johnson: (01:17:48)
He’s completely right in what he says about the areas currently in local lockdown measures, and we are of course, doing extra, giving them extra support to get them through lock down as you would expect.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:18:04)
Sue [inaudible 01:18:05].

Sue: (01:18:06)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Will my right honorable friend join me in thanking all those who are on the front line at the covid-19 test centers, and in the labs working so incredibly hard to keep up with the unprecedented demand as we grow our testing capacity to 500,000 a day by the end of October?

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:18:24)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (01:18:25)
Yes, indeed, Mr. Speaker and I thank each and every one of the people involved in NHS Test and Trace. I think that they’re doing an outstanding job in spite of the massive increase in demand and I’m delighted that she’s paid. I attribute to them just now.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:18:38)
Sarah Owen.

Sarah Owen: (01:18:41)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. How does the Prime Minister justify recent reports that every child at Eton gets a covid test while currently 10% of children and staff at Joe Blow’s Nursery in Luton are having to stay at home and isolate while they wait for tests that show no sign of coming? Can he tell us how many school children are currently self isolating because they cannot afford to buy their own tests? If there’s so much spare capacity, why is it that not every child can get a test when they need it?

Boris Johnson: (01:19:12)
Mr. Speaker, every child with symptoms should automatically get a test. That is, everybody with symptoms should get a test. I can tell her that we are massively expanding testing across the country. I repeat the points that I made earlier on. It’s one of the few things which we can be thankful about this epidemic. That it does affect children and young people, the youngest of all, much less than older people and there is much less evidence that they pass it on in the way that other people do.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:19:47)
[crosstalk 01:19:47] .

Speaker 18: (01:19:48)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Does my right honorable friend agree with me that the best way to support our heroic staff Russell’s Hall Hospital in Dudley, our care staff, and indeed our residents in our care homes, is to actually reinforce the central message of washing our hands, maintain social distancing, and wear face coverings where appropriate?

Boris Johnson: (01:20:09)
Mr. Speaker, he puts it, my honorable friend puts it very well and very succinctly, and I really couldn’t add anything to what he said.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:20:16)
[crosstalk 00:14:19].

Speaker 19: (01:20:18)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. One of the most shocking aspects of the coronavirus pandemic has been the disproportionate impact on black, Asian, and minority ethnic residents. When Public Health England published a report documenting this injustice, the government was warned that it needed to act immediately to stop further preventable deaths, but we have seen no urgency. The chair of the British Medical Association is now warning that government inaction will lead to more preventable deaths of black, Asian, and minority ethnic residents over the winter. What is the prime minister going to do about it?

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:20:53)
Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson: (01:20:53)
Mr. Speaker, I already mentioned earlier on that we have done a great deal to target measures, to protect those in frontline jobs, including many from black and minority ethnic groups. I thank and I pay tribute to those public servants, many of them who’ve done such a fantastic job throughout this crisis at great personal risk. I really thank them for what they’re doing. We are doing everything we can to protect them. Of course, where there are vulnerable communities that need to understand the guidance about coronavirus, we’re doing everything we can to get the messages home. Those are just some of the things the government is doing.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:21:34)
David Jones.

David Jones: (01:21:35)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Could my right honorable friend say to what extent the measures he has announced today, are being coordinated with the devolved administrations? I raised the issue because in Wales, the different arrangements have sometimes been the cause of confusion, not least because most Welsh residents take their news from the London based media.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:21:57)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (01:21:58)
Well, Mr. Speaker, actually over the last few weeks and months, there’s been exceptionally high degree of collaboration between the UK government and all the devolved administrations. Yesterday, I had good conversations with Mark Drakeford about what he’s doing, and it bears uncanny resemblance to the rest of the UK is doing.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:22:22)
Olivia Blake.

Olivia Blake: (01:22:23)
Mr. Speaker, clarity is key to public trust. Many people have been confused by the government’s mixed messages on public health measures. Can the Prime Minister guarantee that none of his ministers or advisors will contradict the rules he set out today, and if they do so that they will be disciplined?

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:22:39)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (01:22:39)
Mr. Speaker, it’s up to all of us to obey the guidance and to urge everybody in this country to obey the guidance, follow the rules, because that’s the way we will defeat the virus.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:22:49)

Ian Levy: (01:22:51)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Blyth Valley has recently faced tighter restrictions as an immediate response to a rise in local cases. All of these measures are necessary in controlling this deadly virus, but they have a real impact on families, businesses, and local communities. I welcome the right honorable member for West Suffolk’s decision on lifting the ban on informal childcare yesterday. Mr. Speaker, I know that this is a move that would be a relief to many of my constituents. Can I ask my right honorable friend, the Prime Minister, to continue to do all he can to support families through this tough time?

Boris Johnson: (01:23:29)
I thank my honorable friend for the way he represents Blyth Valley. I can tell him that we will continue to listen to people and continue to respond to their concerns in any way that we can.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:23:42)
David Linden.

David Linden: (01:23:43)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. With 2.4 million households in the UK facing real poverty this winter, a fact that will only be exacerbated by the pandemic, will the Prime Minister consider introducing a one off covid-19 fuel payment to every household at risk?

Boris Johnson: (01:24:00)
Mr. Speaker, we will consider all sorts of measures to alleviate poverty and suffering in the months ahead. The best thing we can do is to follow this package of measures, scrupulously drive down the virus, keep the economy moving.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:24:14)
Jim Lawton.

Jim Lawton: (01:24:15)
Mr. Speaker, the last six months have been tough for our country, and it sounds like the next six months are going to be, too. It’s vital that we take our constituents with us and they have confidence in and understand what’s being asked of them. At the beginning of the breakdown, of the lockdown, the Prime Minister looked into the camera and said, “I need to level with you folks.” The nation sat up and listened. Can we have more of those level with you moments where the government gives clear and consistent data with clear explanations of how the regulations are working and why, rather than leaving the people at the mercy of covid deniers, so-called independent experts, and professors of hindsight?

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:24:52)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (01:24:55)
Oh, I’m grateful to my right honorable friend and we will do everything we can to share the data with you, with Parliament, in real time and give our colleagues the opportunity to debate and discuss the issues. I think the more people, colleagues are able to look at the facts and study them, they will see that a balanced, proportionate approach such as the one we’re taking today is the right one.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:25:20)
[crosstalk 00:19:20].

Speaker 20: (01:25:20)
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank all of those working on testing because they’re doing remarkable and lifesaving work. That doesn’t mean that the Prime Minister can simply brush off serious questions about failures in systems on something so crucial to this fight. Can you tell me, has he now fixed the problems in the UK Lighthouse Lab System that have negatively effected Wales and that the Welsh government is now having to plug the gaps in? Secondly, is it true as Dido Harding has said, that people will have to pay for his so-called moonshot tests?

Boris Johnson: (01:25:51)
Well, Mr. Speaker, we’re not only fixing their problems, but as you know, we’re building four more Lighthouse Labs. On the machines in question that we needed to be supplied with, we’ve secured them and we are moving forward. I’m confident that we will have the capacity to do another 500,000 tests per day by the end of October, and that’s an extraordinary thing. Now, on the ambition for mass testing, I think that’s a great thing and the government will support it.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:26:24)
Laurence Robertson.

Laurence Robertson: (01:26:25)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The last lockdown, which was quite severe, did succeed in reducing the spread of the virus, but it didn’t eradicate it. What confidence can we have that these measures will actually eradicate it to the extent that we won’t me in this chamber in six months time discussing further lockdown measures? What discussions have you had with scientists and health experts to find a proper way forward?

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:26:53)
Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson: (01:26:53)
Mr. Speaker, he asked, I think, a most important question. The virus is not one that is readily capable of being eradicated. What we have to do is to drive it down as far as we possibly can and to keep it under control and to restrict outbreaks as fast and as far as we possibly can. I think riding to our rescue, there will be several things and riding to the rescue of the economy will be several things. First of all, I think that we will be able to continue with the measures that we have to control the virus and to get the R down, provided people obey, forgive me, Mr. Speaker, provided people obey the guidelines we set out.

Lindsay Hoyle: (01:27:40)
[inaudible 01:27:41].

Speaker 21: (01:27:42)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Sadly, the reason we are facing greater restrictions is because the government have failed to establish an effective testing system.

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