Jun 8, 2020

United Kingdom Coronavirus Press Conference Transcript June 8

UK Coronavirus Press Conference June 8
RevBlogTranscriptsCOVID-19 Briefing & Press Conference TranscriptsUnited Kingdom Coronavirus Press Conference Transcript June 8

British officials held a coronavirus press conference on June 8. Matt Hancock said coronavirus “in retreat” as U.K. deaths fall rapidly.

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Matt Hancock: (01:33)
Good afternoon and welcome to the Downing Street daily coronavirus briefing. Today, I want to update you on social care, something that I know is of huge importance to everybody watching. And I’d also like to welcome David Pearson to the press conference, his new role as Chair of our National COVID-19 Social Care Support Task Force. Before turning to social care, though, I’d like to take you through the latest coronavirus data. And if we turn now to the first slide.

Matt Hancock: (02:04)
The first slide shows the number of new cases confirmed in the UK and also shows the level of testing. There were 138,183 tests done yesterday, bringing the total to over 5.7 million. And as you can see in this chart, the number of confirmed cases confirmed with a positive test yesterday was 1,205. And that is the lowest since the end of March. And you can clearly see the seven day rolling average also continuing to fall. Next slide, please.

Matt Hancock: (02:48)
The data from hospitals also shows a continued fall. The number of admissions with COVID-19 across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland has fallen again to 519. That’s down from 661 a week ago. So we can see the continued downward trend in the total number of new daily admissions. And the number of people on mechanical ventilators in the UK as a whole is also falling and is now 516. Next slide, please.

Matt Hancock: (03:28)
Here in this chart, we can see the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 on a regional basis. And I know there’s been a lot of interest in the regional R figure in recent days. The estimate of sage, taking into account all of the evidence, is that R is below one in all regions. And we can see in this chart that in all areas, the number of people in hospital with coronavirus is falling in all regions, faster in some areas than in others. And it is on that downward trajectory in each individual case. And the total number of people in hospital is 6,403, which is down from over seven and a half thousand this time last week. If we turn now to the final slide.

Matt Hancock: (04:22)
The number of deaths from coronavirus with a positive test yesterday was 55. And that recorded figure is the lowest since the 21st of March. Now these data do tend to be lower at weekends. So we do expect that figure to rise again in future, but you can see also that the seven day rolling average continues to fall. And that means that the total number of deaths stands at 40,597. And as I’ve said in the House just now, though the number is much lower than it has been, each of these deaths still represents a tragedy for a family and a community, and we will continue all of our work to drive that figure down. I’m glad to be able to report also that the number of deaths recorded in London hospitals yesterday was zero. And likewise in Scotland, there were no recorded deaths. So that is very good news for the Capitol and for Scotland. And all of these data are pointing in the right direction. And it shows that we are winning the battle with this disease, but they also show that there’s further to go.

Matt Hancock: (05:54)
If I now turn to care homes, the number of people dying in care homes is also falling. Figures from the CQC show that there’s a 79% fall from the peak of the crisis in care homes, the week ending April the 24th to the week ending the 29th of May, the latest when the data’s available. And the latest ONS data show that there were 12,739 registered deaths in care homes in the year up to the 22nd of May. And this represents 29.1% of all registered COVID deaths. From the earliest days of this crisis, we recognized that people in social care were uniquely vulnerable. Two thirds of people in residential care are over the age of 85. And the latest data from Public Health England show that the over 80s are 70 times, seven zero, 70 times more likely to die from coronavirus than the under 40s.

Matt Hancock: (06:58)
So I know personally what an anxious time it is, and it has been for anyone with a loved one in social care. Right from the start, we’ve given guidance and financial support to care homes. We’ve prioritized testing. We’ve strengthened the links between the NHS and social care with a named clinical lead for every care home in England. And we’ve asked councils to conduct daily reviews of the situation on the ground. And the Social Care COVID-19 Support Task Force, which David will be chairing, will oversee delivery of the next phase of our plan for social care, ensuring that care homes have the support, the training, the resources they need to control this virus. Crucially, this includes working with the care system to develop a plan for keeping staff and residents safe in the months after, as the lockdown measures are eased. Now, David Pearson brings a wealth of experience in public health and in social care. So I’m very glad to have him on board and he’s perfect for the role of driving this forward over the weeks and months ahead.

Matt Hancock: (08:12)
I also want to say a word about testing. Last month, I announced that all residents and staff of elderly care homes in England would receive a test by early June, regardless of whether they had symptoms or not. And I want to thank my team and those colleagues in social care who’ve delivered that target on time on Saturday. We’ve now sent over a million test kits to almost 9,000 elderly care homes. And the care homes themselves asked that they have the flexibility to do the test when it works for them. And the good news is that the test results so far do not show a significant rise in the number of positive cases, despite going through and testing all of the residents and staff.

Matt Hancock: (08:59)
Throughout the crisis, we’ve been rapidly testing any care home with an outbreak or any care home resident or staff member with symptoms. And as we built up testing capacity, we prioritized testing of care homes for the elderly, making sure that every resident and staff member could be tested, whether or not they had symptoms. And the reason we did this is because the evidence shows that age is by far the greatest risk factor. We’ll now make sure that we do all of this in working age care homes as well. So I can announce that from today, all remaining adult care homes in England will be able to order the whole care home testing service for residents and staff. This service will benefit residents and staff in over 6,000 more care homes. It’ll mean that right across adult social care, everyone will have the certainty and confidence of a high quality coronavirus test, whether symptomatic or not, certainty about whether or not they’re carrying the virus and confidence that they’re doing the right thing, both to protect themselves and others.

Matt Hancock: (10:09)
Finally, this is carers week and I want to say a heartfelt thanks to each and every carer, whether paid or unpaid, for all the work that they’re doing to support family and friends and loved ones, especially in this time of crisis. Your duty and your devotion to a job that you do with love in incredibly challenging circumstances, they’re a huge inspiration as we worked through this crisis together. I understand what a worrying time it is. And it’s not just because of the risk of the virus, but because you haven’t physically been able to be with your loved ones. But that day when we can reunite is getting closer. The curve continues to come down. The NHS has been protected. Our vaccine development work is making progress. We’re winning the-

Matt Hancock: (11:03)
All vaccine development work is making progress. We’re winning the battle against Coronavirus. So please stay alert, control the virus and save lives. And I’m now going to ask David to set out the next steps in the social care action plan and the work to control Coronavirus within social care and protect residents and staff, but he’ll be leading.

David: (11:23)
Thank you very much. This virus has had a profound effect on all of us, but particularly the residents of care homes, and then many people who receive social care and support whilst living in their own homes. For families that has been the worry, and sadly, in some cases, the grief for the loss of a family member due to the impact of this disease. There are one and a half million people working in social care in England. In care homes, home care, day services, personal assistance, and many other forms of care and support, as well as a range of voluntary sector initiatives. All these services helping to keep people safe and lead the best possible lives in these circumstances by working 18 and a half thousand organizations and 38,000 different settings.

David: (12:21)
They have demonstrated extraordinary acts of kindness, compassion, and commitment. We owe those of you who work in social care, our gratitude for all that you do every day. The work we need to do now is to support people who receive all these services and those who work for them, learning all the things that we’ve learned around the international evidence about what keeps people safe and enables people to live the best lives they can. Over the last few days, I have read some of the care homes resilience plans that have been submitted by local authority, chief executives, working with care providers, directors of adult social services and directors of public health working closely with local health services.

David: (13:09)
From this, I know the enormous efforts that are taking place locally to provide the necessary support and resources that people need, ensuring the supply of personal protective equipment, supporting the implementation of the testing program, providing the NHS delivered training program in care homes on infection prevention, control. The appointment of a clinical lead for each care home, a consistent person to oversee the treatment of residents and the support of home care, home staff. A range of support for the workforce, including extra payments to ensure that cover is provided and safely in homes.

David: (13:51)
The task force will bring together the concerted and determined actions of central and local government with care providers. Our focus will be on stopping infection whilst trying to ensure the wellbeing of all people who receive care and support, whether they live in care homes or at home. Social care has a crucial role to play in supporting the people who receive care and support, and their carers. And our job is to harness our efforts as we go through the various phases of this pandemic and support social care in its crucial role. Thank you.

Matt Hancock: (14:32)
Thank you very much, David. I will now take questions from the public before turning to questions from the media. And the first question by video is from Rebecca from Northfleet. Rebecca.

Rebecca: (14:45)
Northern Ireland have announced they are allowing weddings again. Will more weddings be permitted in England?

Matt Hancock: (14:51)
Well, thank you very much, Rebecca. The answer is just, I’m afraid the same answer I give to so many questions about what will we be able to do in future, which is that I would love to see the joy of big weddings being able to start again. And we will do that when it is safe to do so, but unfortunately, as we all know, mass gatherings, the gatherings of over six people are against the rules because we’ve got to control the virus. So I’m terribly sorry not to be able to give a more positive answer about when we can once again, have big celebratory weddings. But I really hope Rebecca, that by controlling the virus and getting the numbers right down, we can start to release more measures. And one day we’ll get to big weddings. Thank you very much. Next question is from Andrew, from Anglesey.

Matt Hancock: (15:55)
And Andrew from Anglesey asks, some scientists are saying that R number is at one in some parts of the country. Are you going to lock down these parts of the country and how would this be policed to stop people traveling to other parts of the country? So, Andrew, this is an incredibly important question. And the approach that we’re taking is to keep R below one across the country as a whole, which means that the number of new infections will continue to fall. That is our goal. And you can see from today’s data that the plan is working, but also that if we see outbreaks in a particular area, then we’ll take local action. And in the first instance, this will mean for instance, action in hospitals or in particular care homes, to make sure that there is control of those outbreaks.

Matt Hancock: (16:50)
And David, I might ask you to comment on what we do to control individual outbreaks in care homes, but thus far, when you take all of the different studies into account, not an individual study. And when you take the overall balance of not just the models, but also the measurements from the office for national statistics, the scientist’s conclusion is that R is below one in all parts of the country. But of course we keep that under constant review. And we’re always looking at the latest information. Thankfully at the moment, it demonstrates that the number of infections continues to fall and that’s true across the UK, but where there are individual flare ups and outbreaks, then we’ll take action. And David, maybe you could set out what that means if there’s an outbreak in an individual care home, although the number of outbreaks in care homes has come right down.

David: (17:46)
Yes, I’m pleased to say it is coming down significantly. First of all, at a local level directors of public health, directors of adult social care and local authority, chief execs with health services are keeping a very close watch on what is happening in care homes and helping the care homes with the new testing, the testing regime, to ensure that we understand who is infected in terms of residents and staff. Particularly as over the course of the last several months across the world, it’s become clear that there is much more asymptomatic, many more people who test positive, who are asymptomatic in other words, have no symptoms. And therefore, the testing is critical to understand who has the virus.

David: (18:34)
And then making sure that people, if you’re at work and they have the virus, they take time to isolate and come back, hopefully fit and well, but they’re not actually generating further infection in the home. And secondly, to ensure that we understand who amongst the residents has the virus, that they get the appropriate support from the clinicians and they are in an appropriate environment within the home. So actually making sure that they are isolated and that the staff who work with them have the appropriate PPE, personal protective equipment and the appropriate clinical advice about how to best care for them. The public health protection agency are also involved in this. So specialist teams who can advise care homes about the banishment of those infections at a local level.

Matt Hancock: (19:26)
Thanks very much David. And so in the first instance, this local action will be in for instance, in hospitals or care homes, where there is an individual outbreak. And so we’ll try to be as localized as possible. The further measures are available and we could take further measures in terms of local action, but we hope to be able to avoid that by finding a much more localized spot where there is an outbreak in order take very local action. And then be able to test the community nearby to find out if there’s been further spread. And so that’s the approach that we’re taking. Much more about targeted local action. And I hope we don’t therefore have to resort to the sorts of measures that you mentioned, Andrew. Thanks very much. Two excellent questions from the public. The next questions are from the media. And the first I’m going to turn to is Hugh Pym, from the BBC.

Hugh Pym: (20:25)
Thank you very much indeed, secretary of state. You said in the House of Commons this afternoon, that Coronavirus is in retreat across the land. I was wondering if you could spell out why in more detail you felt confident enough to say that, given there is obviously always the possibility of a second spike.

Matt Hancock: (20:43)
Thank you very much, Hugh. I think it’s important to look at all the figures and all of the information and all of the scientific advice. And the good news is that whilst this is clearly not over, there is progress on all of those statistics. The figures on the number of people who’ve died do tend to be lower at the weak end, but were 55 yesterday across the country as a whole. And as I said, zero in Scotland and in London, hospitals. And the number of new infections is down to just over 1200 recorded by positive tests, which is the lowest that we’ve seen for several months now. In care homes, the latest weekly figures show an almost 50% fall in the number of new care homes reporting an outbreak compared to the week before. And if you look at the total number of excess deaths compared to what the number of people who normally die at this time of year across the country, and that has come right down as well. So when you look across the board, it is clear that Coronavirus is in retreat across the country, but we must.

Matt Hancock: (22:03)
Iris is in retreat across the country, but we must be vigilant and we must be cautious and we are taking a safety first approach. It means that we can proceed with our plan of making some changes. For instance, looking towards the proposals that have been made next week on the retail sector and that people can have confidence to take their children to school in the three years that we’ve opened so far. And those are carefully and safely calibrated to be able to make steps out of lockdown without having an undue positive impact. But we keep all of these things under review.

Hue: (22:46)
Can I ask David Pearson a quick question on social care?

Matt Hancock: (22:49)
Of course.

Hue: (22:51)
Care homes some have reported feeling abandoned a couple of months ago. They weren’t given the support they needed they felt to keep their residents safe, whether it was PPE or lack of testing. What lessons do you think have been learned from that time?

David Pearson: (23:10)
I think the important thing now Hue is that the evidence from the care home resilience plans that I was reading over the weekend is just the amount of effort and energy that it’s taking part at a local level to ensure that care homes get all the support that they need. And including sort of continuing dialogue about the particular issues in particular care homes and the risks that they face. And that’s taking a council of all of the new international evidence that I’ve referred to earlier. So understanding about the asymptomatic level of asymptomatic infection amongst residents and staff, ensuring that we have within that and that’s the testing, making sure that we work with the care homes to ensure that they have the staff that are trained appropriately in infection prevention control both to protect the residents and to protect themselves. As well as the additional resources that have come from the 600 million infection prevention control fund to help support the workforce costs of covering care home safely.

David Pearson: (24:20)
So I think the point about this is that it’s the totality of those measures that make a difference. There was already some great work taking place at local level. I’ve heard about it up and down the country. The point about this virus, it is so pernicious that we need to put everything in place all at once right consistently across the country. And that’s our task for the task force and the wider network of health and care services.

Matt Hancock: (24:49)
Thanks very much Hue. The next question is from Paul Brand from ITV, Paul.

Paul Brand: (24:55)
Thank you very much. Firstly to the health secretary, we’ve been filming today in Surrey with families who’ve moved in full time with their loved ones because they are so afraid of the risk of COVID-19 in care. Can you honestly tell people tonight that it is now safe to send their loved ones into care homes?

Matt Hancock: (25:14)
Yes Paul. The answer is that with all of the measures that we’ve put in place over the last few months, all of the billions of pounds extra that we’ve put in it is clear that the epidemic in care homes is coming under control. That measure that I just read out that in the last week, the latest weekly figures show an almost 50% fall in the number of new care homes reporting an outbreak, shows a significant progress. And even those care homes where there are cases have very strong infection control procedures in place. And in fact, if you look at the proportion of people in the UK who have sadly died in care homes, it is significantly lower than comparable countries across Europe.

Matt Hancock: (26:05)
And I think this shows that the measures that we’ve put in place and strengthened over time have had that positive impact. But I also of course understand why people are worried of course I do, it’s natural. And we’ll keep on strengthening the measures. This isn’t over and I think bringing in David, who we’ve been working together on this for some time, but bringing in David as the chair of this task force now demonstrates we will continue to strengthen the measure in care homes.

Paul Brand: (26:38)
Just a quick follow up actually to David if I may. What is it that you think needs to be put in place now that perhaps wasn’t put in place before? And do you think it’s accurate to say that a protective ring was put around the care sector?

David Pearson: (26:52)
I think what we need to put in place now is the measures that I’ve set out, which have been brought from the evidence that’s been available across the country, but internationally. About the sorts of outbreaks that people have had all over the world and how they have dealt with them. We’ve been keeping a very close eye on that international evidence through Sage and through public health England, which has informed the plan that you’ve got before you today. So I think that we have to be vigilant about the future. We have to make sure that we’re continuing to learn across the world and in care homes and in all of our settings about how we can apply new things as we take this forward.

David Pearson: (27:38)
But when you look at the evidence across the world, you look at the things that we were putting into place, they are the right measures in order to bring infection, prevention control, bring it all under control. Further drive down the levels of infection and keep people safe. And that must be our commitment as a country towards the people who are amongst the most vulnerable in our communities.

Matt Hancock: (28:01)
Thanks very much. Beth Rigby from Sky.

Beth Rigby: (28:05)
Thank you health secretary. Some scientists are worried that you’re lifting the lockdown too early and risk in an insurgence of infections because of your fears for the economy and the threat of millions of job losses. It’s a very difficult trade off that you’ve got to make here. What mortality rate do you accept we’ll have to live with to reopen the economy? Is it 50 deaths a day, is it a hundred, is it 200? Is it more? Mr. Pearson if I may, we’ve had a particularly acute coronavirus crisis in our care homes, a crisis that some countries have managed to avoid. Why do you think it happened here?

Matt Hancock: (28:48)
Thanks Beth. The answer to the first is that that just isn’t a trade off. There just isn’t a trade off. If we don’t have control of this virus, then the economy will suffer yet more. And the job of the government and the work of the government has been to get the infection rate right down. And then the task is to hold it down while safely reopening the normal activities as much as is safely possible. And that’s both on the economic front and the things that make life worth living, like being able to see your grandparents. And that is a massive piece of work, but it’s just simplistic to say that there’s a trade off between the economy and health.

Matt Hancock: (29:38)
A second spike would be hugely damaging for the economy. Of course there’s judgements over timing, but as the statistics demonstrate and the data and the charts that we show regularly at this press conference demonstrate, things are moving in the right direction. And that’s why we’re able to say that coronavirus is in retreat. And that’s why we’re able to keep taking the steps forward through the plan that we’ve laid out to lift some of the most difficult lockdown measures whilst increasing our capability to take the local action that was discussed in the questions from members of the public. And on the second question I’ll hand the opportunity to David.

David Pearson: (30:22)
Certainly. So, many developed countries across the world have had the similar types of difficulties to the United Kingdom in terms of care home outbreaks. So that is definitely something that’s happened right across the world whether it be Italy, Spain and other countries. When we look at what has happened in other places, some other places haven’t had the kind of prevalence of community transmission of the disease that we have had here. The more concentrated the population, the more you can get levels of infection. So we are a relatively small country with a relatively large population that that can be an issue. So I suppose when you look at that international research, what you come across is that people, some countries like us have had those outbreaks have learnt about the totality of the measures that need to be put in place about the way in which the disease is transmitted and the impact on the care sector.

David Pearson: (31:33)
And have put in just the sorts of measures that we are here. So the focus for the future is making sure that we continue to learn because we will learn more about this disease, both in its community transmission and in care settings. And we have to be very agile and quick to learn whatever is coming forward from both the UK and other places in order to adapt our plans. They will not stay the same, we will flex them necessarily so to make sure we have an impact.

Matt Hancock: (32:00)
Thanks very much. Next question’s from Jason Groves of the Daily Mail. Jason.

Jason Groves: (32:08)
Hi there, I have a question for Mr. Pearson first. Do you think self funders in care homes should be contributing to the cost of dealing with the coronavirus epidemic? There was report at the weekend some of them were being asked to stump up an extra a hundred pounds a week. And secretary of state can I ask why we have to stand two meters apart in this country when in France, in Denmark it’s considered safe to stand one meter apart? How do you expect the hospitality sector and schools to function at that distance?

Matt Hancock: (32:44)
Well, thanks Jason. David, if you’ll answer the first question then I’ll come on to the second.

David Pearson: (32:49)
Yeah certainly. So obviously we have a system where about half of the people in care homes fund themselves because that’s the system that we’ve got and a half funded by local authorities and help the health service.

David Pearson: (33:03)
…by local authorities and health service. And what’s happened is that some of the additional costs of PPE and other things, for example, have been reflected in some of the grants that the government has given, the 3.2 billion and laterally, the 600 million. And my understanding is that the reason why 75% of the 600 million was allocated as a lump sum to each care home through local authorities was the recognition that this disease, it doesn’t direct itself according to who pays. It’s indiscriminate in that sense, and therefore that’s why the decision was taken in order to give a lump sum to support the care home sector in terms of some of those costs, particularly in terms of infection prevention control, and some of the support that is needed to make sure that the workforce can work safely in care homes. So, I think these things are under constant review, but those are the measures that have already been put in place.

Matt Hancock: (34:10)
And on your first question… On your second question, sorry, the question that was directed to me, Jason, the one meter rule that some countries have, the two meter rule that we have, these are based on judgments based on the science. And the [inaudible 00:34:27] countries that have rules with lower, you’ve got to take into account the totality of the social distancing measures because if you relax one social distancing measure, then that will have an impact on whether you can relax other social distancing measures. So, you’ve got to look at the hole in the round. You can’t take one particular rule on its own.

Matt Hancock: (35:18)
We keep the two meter rule under review all of the time, and Sage have been doing some work on this recently. But ultimately it isn’t the rule that’s the challenge to the opening of hospitality in a safe way; it’s the virus. And we have to find ways to be able to reopen the economy in a way that doesn’t lead to the increased spread of the virus because as I said in my answer to Beth, the idea of a second peak, a second spike would be damaging to the economy right across the board.

Speaker 4: (35:56)
Can I ask if you… [inaudible 00:35:59] about the two meter rule. With that [inaudible 00:36:02] in place, do you expect schools to be able to reopen fully in September? Because a lot of them [inaudible 00:36:10] that they can’t.

Matt Hancock: (36:12)
Well, that is our current working plan is that secondary schools won’t open until September at the earliest. I very much hope that they can because the impact on children’s education is so significant. But what we have to do, not only in schools, but right across the board, is work out how we can get the other things that matter going, like schools, like hospitality, especially outdoor hospitality, like retail, but get them going safely and carefully in a way that doesn’t lead to the spread of the virus. And that is going to require ingenuity.

Matt Hancock: (36:59)
You can already see the ingenuity in lots of areas of the economy: bars that have turned themselves into takeaways, all sorts of different ways that people are providing services and making their business work in a way that is consistent with social distancing and therefore doesn’t have an upward impact on the virus. So, I think we’ve got to be innovative, we’ve got to be thoughtful about this. And that’s the approach that we try to take in making these very difficult policy judgments based on the best available science and always guided by that science with the uncertainty that inherently there is in the science. Thanks very much. Next question is from Harun Sadiki at The Guardian.

Harun Sadik: (37:48)
Thank you. It’s Sadik, by the way, not Sadiki.

Matt Hancock: (37:52)
I’m very sorry about that. My dyslexia got ahead of me, so I apologize.

Harun Sadik: (38:01)
That’s okay. The question I wanted to ask you, secretary of state, is if, as you and the prime minister to say, that Britain is not a racist country, which implies that there is not structural racism in the UK, please can you explain why black, Asian, and minority ethnic people are disproportionately dying from COVID-19? And, please, could you also explain why black people are being fined disproportionately under lockdown rules?

Matt Hancock: (38:37)
Well, Harun, the absolutely critical piece of work is to follow on from the PHE report that was published last week with the answer to the question objectively and based on the science, why is that death rate higher? And take into account all the different considerations. The importance of getting the science right around this is critical. And that involves making sure that we look into the different considerations, like the different occupations that people have, the different levels of co-morbidities and other factors such as housing because we know that diseases like this spread more in lower quality housing. Take into account all of those factors, and then act. And that’s the approach that we should take, and it’s the approach that we’ve kicked off that next bit of work following the PHE review. And [inaudible 00:39:46] is going to be taking that forward, working right across government. And as and when we find conclusions to that, we will absolutely put them into place. Thanks very much. And the final question is from Torcuil Crichton of The Daily Record.

Torcuil Crichton: (40:03)
Good afternoon, secretary of state. Two questions, if I may, on quarantine. Your 14 days self isolation policy is up for review in two weeks, which is just enough time to make a beach booking around the English school holidays at the end of July, but not the Scottish school holidays, which start in June. And to be fair to everyone across the UK, shouldn’t that review be earlier? Shouldn’t these air bridges be announced now? And in direct relevance to your own department, I’d like to know your comment on these reports. We’re getting that doctors and nurses, medical staff returning to the UK will not have to go through 14 day quarantine; they can go straight to work. But hospital [inaudible 00:00:40:46], care staff, social workers and cleaners and hospitals would have to self isolate for 14 days if they came back from holiday? Is that what the guidance says?

Matt Hancock: (40:57)
Well, I’m really clear on the importance of the quarantine being due to the lower incidents of new cases. And that’s the basis on which this is introduced now, as opposed to at the peak is because at the peak you have a higher level of community transmission domestically. And so the proportion of new cases that come from people coming from overseas is much lower, even for the same number of new cases coming from overseas. So, that was the decision that we took consistent with that scientific advice. And we’re, therefore, implementing the policy at what we judged to be the right time in the spread of the pandemic. And for those who aren’t able to go abroad for a holiday, I know the impact that will have this summer. I understand that, and I just hope that we will be able to get to a position where people will be able to go on holiday, including domestically, and to safely and carefully and in a COVID secure way.

Matt Hancock: (42:14)
So, that’s the approach that we’re taking on the quarantine policy. You asked specifically about the exemptions. There are some very limited exemptions, but the numbers coming through the exempt categories, for instance, those who’ve been dealing with coronavirus in other countries and returning and have been doing that because of medical need and mutual medical aid. There are some exemptions around that, but they’re very, very small in number. Thanks very much. Well, that ends today’s daily Downing Street conference. And thanks very much to David Pearson, and thank you to you for tuning in, and I’ll see you again, no doubt.

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