Jonathan Ashworth has called for a “plan to roll out testing and tracing” and said that the use of lockdown measures are a “blunt tool” in combatting coronavirus.
In an interview with Sky News this morning, the Shadow Health Secretary refused to give the government a rating out of ten on how it has been handling the crisis.
Ashworth instead focused on calling for frontline health and care workers to be supplied with the personal protective equipment that they need.
"Lockdown is a blunt tool unless you combine it with a testing and tracing plan."
Shadow Health Secretary @JonAshworth is pushed on how he thinks the government has been coping with the #coronavirus pandemic. #KayBurley#COVID19 latest: https://t.co/1OOlStAXZy pic.twitter.com/NHYKOJwqSU
— SkyNews (@SkyNews) April 16, 2020
He also said that the public need clarity on an exit strategy for the lockdown, warning that if not provided people will “read things into misleading or badly phrased tweets from health ministers”.
On Wednesday evening, Junior health minister Nadine Dorries tweeted: “There is only one way we can ‘exit’ full lockdown and that is when we have a vaccine. Until then, we need to find ways we can adapt society and strike a balance between the health of the nation and our economy.”
Speaking to in a BBC interview later this morning, Ashworth said: “We would expect the lockdown to continue, we would support that, but we also want more details from government about what happens next.”
With indications that the rate of new infections is slowing, the government is under increasing pressure to begin to outline when the lockdown might end.
Labour leader Keir Starmer has urged the government to publish its exit strategy this week and said that doing so would “maintain morale and hope”.
The total number of recorded Covid-19 cases in the UK is now 98,476 but with low levels of testing the true figure is thought to be much higher. There have been 12,868 confirmed deaths from the virus.