"Leaving the EU pandemic response system post-Brexit will put public health at risk"

2 March 2020, 19:29 | Updated: 2 March 2020, 19:35

Journalist Peter Foster explains why Downing Street is refusing to remain part of the EU's pandemic response system post-Brexit - and why this is the wrong decision.

The EU's Early Warning and Response System (EWRS) is an information sharing platform which allows countries to coordinate responses to pandemic outbreaks like coronavirus.

It has been reported there is conflict between Downing Street and the Department of Health after the Prime Minister has said the UK will not stay in this system post-Brexit.

"In order for us to retain access to it once we've left the EU, we would have to submit probably to more strings, more legal entanglement than the government wants with the European Union," said Telegraph's Europe editor Peter Foster.

"If you apply that clean break filter, which seems like a good thing if your ambition is trade independence, it cuts across to other areas like this.

"The Department of Health, the NHS Confederation, all of the experts have said very clearly it would be absolutely for the benefit of public health. It would put public health at risk if we didn't seek to retain access to this early warning system and lots of other EU health bureaucracy," he said.

"At the moment, Downing Street says no."

Eddie asked, "Is politics really going to trump public health?"

Peter said that this was a question for the government, however as it stands his sources have revealed there is no intention to remain within the EWRS.