On Monday (28 September 2020), the House of Commons held a general debate on COVID-19. A further debate, on the renewal of the temporary provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020, took place on Wednesday (30 September 2020).
We are facing a second wave of the pandemic and must take action now to save lives and minimise harm. We need clarity about which restrictions work and how long they will be in place.
The Health Secretary stated on Wednesday that the Government’s strategy is to suppress the virus while protecting the economy, education and the NHS until a vaccine is available. He said that, wherever possible, the Government will consult Parliament and hold votes for significant national measures that will take effect in the whole of England or UK wide.
In a time of national crisis, I did not oppose the renewal of the temporary provisions of the Act. However, I remain concerned by the Government’s communications to the public, with announcements about measures being made overnight without proper notice, and without a proper power of review. I am also concerned that we still do not have an effective testing system.
I believe the Government should publish a monthly review of the impact of COVID-19 on individuals and groups, as well as detailed equality impact assessments.
The renewal of the temporary provisions of the Act passed in the House of Commons. I will continue to support calls for the Government to sort out testing and tracing, communicate well with the public and act to prevent mass unemployment.