Scrapping free Covid tests will leave public “flying blind”

Parliamentary news
Responding to the news that free PCR and lateral flow tests will be scrapped for everyone next week, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said: “Scrapping free tests when case rates are still sky high will leave the public and scientists flying blind. If there’s one sure fire way to put the country at risk of another lockdown, it’s scrapping all the warning lights like this. “It will also be impossible for the immunosuppressed to take 'personal responsibility' for assessing their risk if there’s no actual data on the level of risk in their community." In Oldha, Covid figures are below the national average, although in the week to 5th February 2022, Oldham had a total of 1,067 new cases, lower than the previous week’s total of 1,672. This…
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Guarantee Covid tests for teachers and pupils ahead of schools return, government urged

Guarantee Covid tests for teachers and pupils ahead of schools return, government urged

Parliamentary news
The Liberal Democrats have written to Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi calling on him to provide a “cast-iron” guarantee that schools will be able to access Covid tests for teaching staff and pupils returning to the classroom next week. Without those tests available at the start of term, he risks breaking his promise to keep schools open. It comes amid warnings from headteachers that difficulties getting hold of lateral flow tests could lead to school closures or children returning to online learning. Last month, the Government said all secondary school students in England will be asked to take a Covid test on site following the Christmas break. Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP said: “It would be unforgivable for ministers to do even more damage to our children’s futures and…
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Sykes calls for on-site COVID-19 testing at more local pharmacies

Sykes calls for on-site COVID-19 testing at more local pharmacies

Borough news
Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, Leader of the Opposition and of the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, has written to Oldham’s Director of Public Health requesting more work be done on signing up pharmacies in Shaw, Crompton, Saddleworth and East Oldham to carry out on-site testing for COVID-19. Although the government is responsible for commissioning the tests, Councillor Sykes hopes that Director Katrina Stephens can help apply pressure in the right places to roll out the provision in areas of the borough that are not currently served. Commenting Councillor Sykes said: “Although it is possible to pick up a home testing kit at four pharmacies and from the Crompton Library in my own Shaw Ward, many of my constituents have told me that they would prefer to be able to…
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Farcical travel rules put lives at risk

Farcical travel rules put lives at risk

Parliamentary news
Lib Dems are calling on the Government to act more decisively on travel restrictions after a worrying new strain of coronavirus was discovered in Brazil. Sarah Olney, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Transport, said: “Once again it seems the Conservatives have missed the opportunity to help stem the spread of Covid-19. "They've delayed action on cutting travel between the UK and South America, risking the arrival of the new variant. Brazil has already stopped flights from the UK arriving there. "And we are still not requiring testing prior to travel to the UK, as recommended by the APPG on coronavirus. Countries across the world have proved this to be effective, the UK Government should follow their lead. "The Liberal Democrats are calling for the Conservatives to take quick decisive action to…
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COVID-19 testing falling dangerously short of expectations

COVID-19 testing falling dangerously short of expectations

Parliamentary news
Responding to reports that the COVID-19 R rate has risen above 1 across the UK, Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP said:  “People will be rightly alarmed by these figures. No one wants to see a second wave of this dreadful virus. "A robust system to test, trace and isolate every coronavirus case remains essential to keep people safe as we open up our economy and society more and more. The current situation - with many people unable to access testing at all - continues to fall dangerously short of expectations.  "If we are to prevent a second wave we need rapid action to bring our test and trace system up to scratch, as well as absolute clarity in public health messaging. If the Government can't get…
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Government must make Covid test available to all that need one

Government must make Covid test available to all that need one

Parliamentary news
Responding to the press conference by the Prime Minister, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said: “The Government is making the right decision to strengthen the coronavirus guidelines in England. Clearly rapid testing by spring would be a welcome advancement. “However, the Government must take immediate action to increase the level of testing available right now. It is simply not acceptable that people are being asked to travel for several hours for a test, or are unable to book a test at all. “Ministers must also put forward financial plans for people and businesses that continue to be heavily affected. As the Coronavirus will continue to force many businesses and self employed to stop working, thousands of jobs are at risk. "The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government…
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Local testing long overdue, but we need no repeat of shambolic start in Shaw

Local testing long overdue, but we need no repeat of shambolic start in Shaw

Borough news
The Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, is pleased that Covid-19 testing will finally be delivered from mobile testing units located in district centres across Oldham. But he condemns the chaos caused by the failure of the promised Shaw local testing unit to turn up on the first day, or arrive on time on the second day, or turn up without full kit on another day and left early on another day. Councillor Sykes said: “It was a total shambles. We were promised a testing unit in Shaw on Tuesday last week (4 August) – it failed to show. And we were promised another on Friday of last week (7 August) – it arrived two and a half…
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Lib Dems: Government have deserted care homes entirely

Parliamentary news
Responding to the reports that the Government has abandoned their pledge to test all care home residents regularly throughout the summer, Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson said: “The decision to drop the pledge to test all care home residents regularly would be a decision to desert care home residents entirely. The reports today, if true, are sadly just another example of a Government that is either woefully incompetent or one that simply doesn’t care. "The Government has made clear right throughout the coronavirus crisis that protecting those in our care homes is not a priority for them - from the beginning of the crisis, Ministers failed to equip care homes with sufficient testing and PPE, whilst discharging patients with the virus into their homes. "The…
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2m review must consider test, trace and isolate strategy

Parliamentary news
Responding to reports that the Government will announce in the coming week whether the 2m social distancing rule in England will be relaxed, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said: “The economic and public health impact of the Coronavirus is deeply worrying and has left thousands of families facing financial hardship and uncertainty. We all want to get back to normal life as soon as possible. “However, any easing of the lockdown can only happen once the Government delivers a comprehensive strategy to test, trace and isolate to protect lives and prevent a new surge. “Thus far, the Government has been woefully slow to ramp up capacity and their tracing plans are in disarray. It is clear Ministers failed to prepare properly and have created confusion by badly communicating their…
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Yet more dishonesty from the Government on test and trace system

Parliamentary news
Responding to reports that the Health Secretary has been misleading about the number of contacts that have been traced, using the governments test and trace system, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said: “Yet more obfuscation from the Health Secretary today on the testing and tracing system. In normal times this kind of dishonesty from the government is  extremely problematic, during a pandemic it is dangerous. “If people do not trust the government they are less likely to have faith in a test and trace system and less likely to follow guidelines, people want clarity and honesty from Ministers. “Without a comprehensive test, trace and isolate system it is almost impossible to keep people safe as we move out of lockdown. Ministers have failed to make this happen and apparently won't be…
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