Health Secretary fumes at paramedic being evicted over fear of spreading coronavirus
23 March 2020, 10:33 | Updated: 23 March 2020, 10:47
A furious Matt Hancock labelled a landlord's decision to evict a paramedic over fears he could spread coronavirus "an outrage".
Joe Hoar was told by his landlady to vacate the property as he would soon be in "regular contact with the virus" and "it's not worth the risk".
The Health Secretary was furious about the story, insisting: "It's an outrage.
"It's illegal as far as I can see and it's totally ridiculous.
"Firstly, we're passing a law to stop evictions of all kinds, because a lot of people have sadly already lost their jobs because of the crackdown we've had to bring in.
"But the idea that someone who works in the NHS should be evicted is totally outrageous.
"I'm amazed that someone did it. I'm shocked and it needs to stop."
When you work as a paramedic for the NHS and you get evicted over a text by your land lady. Because of this I now won't be able to work my 12hr night shift tomorrow, so that means one less paramedic on the road. At these unprecedented times we need our NHS demand more than ever. pic.twitter.com/gfxbIykElq— Joseph Hoar (@joseph_hoar) March 21, 2020
The message from Mr Hoar's landlord read: "On reflection, I am now super nervous about having someone from the NHS here. As it's only a matter of time before u r in regular contact with the virus. Can u organise an Airbnb and collect your stuff tomorrow. Sorry I normally would never do this but it's not worth the risk. I'll charge you for the week and refund everything. Hope u understand."
Mr Hoar said he would not be able to work his 12-hour night shift if he was evicted, which would leave "one less paramedic on the road."
Meanwhile, Mr Hancock was also asked if senior members of the Cabinet were considering moving into lockdown, saying: "We are prepared to take more measures if we need to."
He added that the government would look at all the available information before coming to a decision and if it shows people have not reduced their interactions since the last measures were introduced on Friday, then stricter rules will be introduced.
He added: "Clearly though, if there is still too much interaction then we are going to have to go further and they're the discussions we're going to have today."
The health secretary said he understood the impact this would have on people's lives and added he had personally been affected by not being able to see his mum on Mother's Day.
Mr Hancock was then pressed on the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to NHS staff and his promise to deliver to all NHS Trusts by the end of last weekend.
Despite the well-meaning motivation behind the assurance, lorries were unable to reach all hospitals.
The health secretary said he had introduced a hotline for people to call if they are on the frontline and are unable to get hold of PPE. He added the army had been brought in to help with the logistics of distribution.
"Protecting those who are protecting us by looking after us in the NHS is so important," he said.
People were also advised to avoid unnecessary contact with their dentists and should only go in for emergency work or extractions, rather than hygienic work or check-ups.
Mr Hancock thanked pharmacists and social workers for their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic.
He then reminded people not to buy more food and goods than they need because the country's food supply is "perfectly adequate". The 41-year-old said NHS workers were "heartbroken" to finish their shifts only to find empty shelves at their local supermarket.