Matt Hancock says three pubs closing shows 'test and trace is working'

7 July 2020, 14:43

Mr Hancock praised the pubs for shutting down
Mr Hancock praised the pubs for shutting down. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

Three pubs closing across England is an example of "test and trace working", Health Secretary Matt Hancock has claimed.

A number of pubs in England have shut after customers tested positive for coronavirus.

They were only reopened on Saturday, but the Lighthouse Kitchen and Carvery in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, The Fox and Hounds in Batley, West Yorkshire, and The Village Home pub in Alverstoke, Gosport closed their doors.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Hancock praised the actions of the pubs, saying they were “doing the right thing by their customers and by their communities”.

He added: "This is NHS Test and Trace working precisely as intended.

"Three pubs shut so others can be open, and I think the whole House is grateful."

Leicester MP and Shadow Secretary Jonathan Ashworth asked what would allow the lockdown in the city to be lifted.

Read more: Number of pubs forced to close days after reopening due to coronavirus cases

The Health Secretary said: "What is the exit strategy for Leicester? How does an area that has gone into a local lockdown escape from a local lockdown?

“If the level were lower but it was going up, that could be a worse situation than a higher level that is under control and falling.”

Making a statement in the Commons, Mr Hancock told MPs: "Yesterday's figures show 352 new cases, the lowest since lockdown began, and that's down from over 5,000 a day at the peak.

"209 patients are currently in mechanical ventilator beds, down from 3,300 at the peak. The latest number of deaths recorded in all settings in the UK was 16.

"New figures this morning show that for the last two weeks the number of people who have died from all causes has been lower than the normal average for this time of year."

Matt Hancock added that the infection rate in Leicester has reduced.

He said: "We took, last week, difficult but vital decisions about Leicester. Since then we have been working with Leicester and Leicestershire and I am pleased to say that, together, we have brought down the seven-day infection rate from 135 to 117 cases per 100,000 people.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth called on Matt Hancock to apologise for the Prime Minister's "crass remarks" on care homes.

Mr Ashworth said in the Commons: "The initial guidance from the Government downplayed the risk to care homes.

"Care providers were sent conflicting guidance throughout this outbreak. Staff could not access testing until mid-April and are still not tested routinely.

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"PPE supplies have been inadequate, thousands of families have lost their loved ones in care homes to this disease, care workers themselves have died on the front line.

"Can he understand why people are so insulted by the PM's remarks when he said too many care homes didn't really follow the procedures?

"Can he appreciate the hurt that has led to care home providers today, for example, describing the comments as 'clumsy and cowardly', and can he tell us therefore which care homes didn't follow procedures and what these procedures were that apparently were not followed and will he take this opportunity now to apologise for the PM's crass remarks?"

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