Sunday shows: Reeves, Allin-Khan and Burnham on lockdown exit plan

The Andrew Marr Show

Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rachel Reeves called for the government to count coronavirus deaths in care homes on a daily basis, and said the strategy of community testing and contract tracing would have to be reintroduced for lockdown measures to be lifted.

  • On the coronavirus death toll: “There’s a real problem here because if somebody you love and care for dies, it doesn’t matter if that’s in a hospital or a care home or at home. It has the same devastating impact on you and your family. And yet the numbers are being counted in a different way. I would urge the government to count the deaths in care homes in the same way they’re counted in hospitals on a daily basis.”
  • On the concerns of care home staff: “They’re not properly equipped to do their job… We ask a lot of those who serve on the frontline, and we owe it to them to ensure that they’re properly protected in the workplace with that equipment and clothing.”
  • On the number of tests needed: “That level of testing needs to be ramped up further.”
  • Pressed on how many tests need to be done and how that would be done: “We’re going to need mass testing at a community level… We’re urging the government to work with local authorities, to open up town halls and libraries.”
  • On the UK abandoning testing and contact tracing: “It seems to me that if we’re to come out of this lockdown, those sorts of strategies and measures need to be reintroduced.”
  • On people no longer following the rules: “We need to take the people with us on this journey, by giving them a greater indication of what comes next, and part of that is keeping up morale.”
  • Asked which non-essential businesses should open first, Reeves cited Denmark, Germany and Belgium, where there has been a reopening of small businesses and schools.
  • On whether it’s possible to reopen schools without social distancing: “In Denmark, class sizes have had to be reduced… For the youngest children, that is going to be near impossible.” She suggested reducing class sizes and having children outside where possible.
  • Asked whether there will be an inquiry: “It’s inevitable that there will be a public inquiry after this. There are so many lessons to be learnt, as well as thinking about what kind of national recovery plan we need for the future.”

Ridge on Sunday

Frontbench Labour MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan warned that the UK will see “real mental health issues” in families and NHS workers affected by Covid-19.

  • On working with the family liaison unit in the NHS Nightingale hospital: “I found myself coming home, heartbroken and asking myself: how much of this could have been avoided?”
  • On the government’s handling of the crisis: “We did enter lockdown too late, we did not deliver PPE to the frontline when it was needed, we did not follow global advice on self isolation and we haven’t rolled out mass testing.”
  • On mental health: “We are going to have real mental health issues to deal with for these grieving families, but also for the NHS workers who have had to hold their hands through this process.”
  • On the 100,000 tests promised by the government by the end of the month: “Are we too late? We are three months into having our first case.”
  • On the recording of coronavirus cases: “The government need to be recording the number of deaths in care homes and in the community… We won’t know whether we are fully on top of this and whether lockdown measures have been working as well as they can be until we are recording all of the deaths.”
  • Asked about patient numbers: “My colleagues have been finding that the number of patients, worryingly, is going down for other illnesses… We don’t want to see a rise in deaths come out of those people who were too afraid to go to hospital.”
  • On the implications of lockdown measures: “I don’t think that deaths will be caused by the lockdown… Deaths will be caused by people being too afraid to go to emergency departments and having had their cancer treatments delayed.”
  • On Labour’s call for an exit strategy: “Labour isn’t looking to have any sort of argument about what the exit strategy should be… what we are asking for is some strategy going forward.”
  • Pushed on what Labour wants to see: “What the Labour Party is calling for is some greater understanding and clarity.”
  • On the new Labour leader: “It was phenomenal to see Keir Starmer at PMQs this week. He was utterly forensic in his responses and I think that was something that was really welcome.”

Labour mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham also appeared. He rejected regional and sectoral approaches to exiting the lockdown, and instead outlined his proposal for a “standards-led” approach.

  • On an exit strategy: “It’s not a call for an early end to the lockdown… But what I would say is that Keir Starmer is right to call for an open debate about when and how.”
  • On the approaches being discussed: “A region-by-region approach would be unworkable in my view, but a sectoral approach would possibly be unfair on businesses in certain parts of the economy, for example hospitality.”
  • On his proposal: “What I’m saying is let’s have a standards-led approach to this, i.e. permission to open is linked to businesses’ ability to operate safe working standards and social distancing.”
  • He added: “It would allow businesses in all parts of the economy to innovate, perhaps to change the way they work, limit the number of employees they have in work – but at least it would give them a route back.”
  • On the implications of a sectoral approach: “I’m worried that if we’re going down the sectoral approach it could have heavy consequences for a city like Manchester… The impact of a sectoral approach could hit certain places hard.”
  • On how his plan would work: “I would have this overseen by the health and safety executive, so if people are making complaints that procedures aren’t being followed there can be an investigation and people can be required to close again.”
  • On government support for business: “Ongoing government support for businesses should be linked to good employment – and very specifically paying the real living wage.”
  • Asked if the government is right to be so cautious in lifting the lockdown: “Yes… because the worst of all worlds would be an early release, unmanaged release, that then saw the virus spreading again.”
  • On discussion about an exit strategy: “Let’s use this time to debate properly and agree how we are going to move from the position that we’re in at the moment… Otherwise people are losing hope and they can’t see where we’re going.”
  • On the government’s handling of the crisis: “I’ve been quite supportive of some of the way the Health Secretary has handled things but I think his predecessor the former Health Secretary has some questions to answer… I don’t believe the plans that were put in place were as robust as they needed to be.”

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