Good morning. Today the cabinet will meet to discuss and review lockdown. It is likeley that the guiding principle is the R value (R0) which reflects the rate of infection. For a deeper discription of what this means please see this helpful article from ITV: https://www.itv.com/news/2020-04-28/coronavirus-q-a-what-is-the-r-value/
Excess Mortality Rate
The below graph is disturbing. It highlights that the picture painted by the Government isn’t the whole story. People are sadly passing away from Coronoavirus but the official statistics seem to be failing to record it. We must also begin to understand the impact of mortality from people passing away from illnesses not directly caused by coronavirus but where it has had an impact. For example, changes in resuscitation procedures or simply people reluctant to call an ambulance could be having a significant impact . Fundamentally, we need better more accurate reporting of death and a lot more completed tests.
We in Labour supported the government’s decision to extend the lock-down. This is saving lives and must not be ended until it is safe to do so. We are however calling on the government to commit to publishing an exit strategy as soon as possible. The Government should hold talks with community leaders in the coming days on how they could put in place such a strategy. The British public have made great sacrifices to make the lock-down work and they deserve to be part of an adult conversation about what comes next. Countries across the world are publishing exit strategies and the UK government is behind the curve on this. We need to see a significant step-change in the government’s response to this pandemic. The Government must make decisions faster. The government should outline the sectors of the economy and the core public services that are most likely to see restrictions eased. This lock-down is not affecting people equally. In fact, it has exacerbated existing inequalities in our country. A family living in an overcrowded flat will have particular challenges. It is hard to imagine the daily horror of someone trapped in a home with his or her abuser. The government has a duty to do what it can to ease these pressures on people. We want the government to publish its plans so that we can scrutinise them. We don’t think it’s right to put forward a rival plan of our own. Labour will work with the government in bringing forward a plan, and then getting that right.
Waste recycling centres re-opening
This week, the Local Government Secretary asked councils to plan for the organised reopening of their waste and recycling sites. Updated guidance will be published shortly to support local government to open sites safely during the coronavirus pandemic. Local work is progressing to work this through so that sites can be open in a safe manner, and communications will follow once this plan and timeline is clear.
Emergency Dental Treatment
Regular dental services have been halted. However, dental practices remain open and accessible to patients, both for those who recently accessed the practice and those who do not have a regular dentist – and NHS England continues to work with dental practices to confirm this. If patients cannot access a Dental Practice, and for Out of Hours services, patients can contact NHS 111. Patients will be triaged and offered advice, support and analgesia/antibiotics as appropriate. For patients who do still require face to face care, a number of practices in each locality, across Yorkshire and the Humber, have been identified to provide an urgent treatment service as required. These centres are in the process of being established and will be accessible upon receipt of enhanced PPE. It is hoped that some of these centres will be operational this week (w/c 27 April 2020), subject to the required PPE being available. Patients presenting at A&E should be advised, if their condition is not an emergency, to contact a Dental Practice or 111 Out of Hours.
Underwriting Loans Labour has been making the case for some weeks that the Chancellor should underwrite 100% of loans for small businesses. It is welcome that he has seen reason and now agreed to 100% underwriting for the smallest loans. There remain very serious issues about the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Especially for for small businesses seeking more than £50,000 support. They will be asking why they cannot have quick turnaround loans and whether CBILS will remain as slow and cumbersome as it has so far been. There are also massive challenges facing businesses for whom debt is not the answer. These issues will only become more pressing
Captain Tom Moore
I would like to finally wish Captain Tom Moore a very happy 100th birthday. He is an inspiration to us all and shows the impact that one person can make to the world. Happy Birthday captain Tom.