29 October 2020 – today’s press releases

  • PM must implement an immediate national circuit breaker
  • Liberal Democrats: Government must fix failing test and trace system

PM must implement an immediate national circuit breaker

The Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has today called for an immediate national circuit breaker to “correct the failing test, trace and isolate system” and keep people safe.

The call follows annoucements in both France and Germany of new nationwide lockdowns. The Liberal Democrats have also called for a united approach to keeping family gatherings safe during the festive season, now backed by Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

The Government has been badly prepared and slow to act at every stage throughout this health and jobs crisis. That can’t happen again, especially in the run up to Christmas.

That is why the Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to start an immediate national circuit breaker across the UK. This is the only chance we now have to get the virus under control and save Christmas for millions of families across the UK.

The Government must use this national circuit breaker as a time to correct the failing test, trace and isolate system which is crucial to keeping people safe, minimising hospital admissions and restarting the UK economy.

Liberal Democrats are also calling on all the governments of the four nations to work together to create common guidelines across the UK so families can get as much clarity as possible as we head into the festive period.

Liberal Democrats: Government must fix failing test and trace system

Responding to statistics released today showing that four in ten close contacts of people who tested positive for coronavirus in England are still not being reached by the Test and Trace system, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

These figures today show that tracing is still woefully inadequate, despite repeated calls for the Government to fix the failing test and trace system. The test, trace and isolate system is essential to not only slow the spread of coronavirus, but for people to have any hope of ever getting out of the Government’s restrictions.

It is long overdue that Matt Hancock comes to Parliament to explain what this Government will do to overhaul their shambolic test, trace and isolate system – and answer to why they have failed to do so thus far.

If Ministers are to get a grip on this second wave, then tests need to be turned around in 24 hours, tracing needs to be led by experts in local authorities, and there needs to be more practical and financial support to help people isolate.

Otherwise people’s lives and livelihoods remain at risk thanks to this Government’s incompetence.

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18 Comments

  • I am so proud of the Liberal Democrats for leading the charge on this, it has totally restored my faith in the party.
    I lost a huge amount of trust from the coalition years and it is no secret that I was poles apart from the Liberal Democrats on Brexit.

    I know how passionate Liberal Democrats are on civil liberties and Freedoms so I equally know how hard coronavirus must be for some in the party to find the right balance in protecting freedoms, but also protecting public health and the most disadvantaged in society.
    I am heartened to see that the vast majority of Liberal Democrats and the party are putting lives and public health at the forefront of this.

    I am seriously contemplating joining the party, it will be a first for me being a member of any party, but I really feel impassioned for a party for the first time in a very very long time.

  • The government must actually learn to accept the limits of political power. A circuit breaker will do nothing except more unnecessary damage to people’s lives. This virus has a 99+% recovery rate and most of the cases are asymptomatic. Lockdowns, social distancing and masks simply do not work. If they did then cases would not be going up. But still the political fad continues basically because our leaders cannot be seen to lose against a microbe. It is no good endlessly trying to keep the threat level up when thousands of people have had the virus and recovered with barely a symptom. People are waking up to the scale of the folly and are sick of it. Offer protection to the vulnerable, but stop pretending that everyone is frail or 82 years old and end the governmental overreach into private lives. The public is moving on and it’s time political classes backed off.

  • Helen Dudden 30th Oct '20 - 9:28am

    The students in Bath do not socially distance in the majority. The figures increase daily. Should universities face lock down rather than closing businesses and shops? Many students have returned to the UK from countries affected by Covid.
    It is sad to watch the struggle with depression increase.
    What will happen now as the Labour Party suffer meltdown, democracy is hardly the situation.

  • @Glenn

    “Lockdowns, social distancing and masks simply do not work. If they did then cases would not be going up.”

    The evidence shows that they do work, when we went into lockdown and continued with shielding the vulnerable, Infection rates came down, Hospital admissions came down and deaths came down. As lock down measures were lifted, infections began to gradually rise and as shielding ended in August infection rates climbed further still with hospital admissions and sadly deaths following.
    So how can you continue to claim that they do not work?

    Nobody ever said it would eradicate the virus, only to supress it to manageable numbers so as not to overwhelm the NHS.
    25% of hospital admissions in the first wave were under 60, that is not sustainable for the NHS over the long term and puts covid and non-covid patients at risk.

    Argue that you do not agree with the measures, but don’t falsely claim that measures don’t work when they clearly do.
    Natural Herd immunity does not work, The author of the GBD claimed that London already had natural herd immunity, if that were true then London would not be seeing an R Rate of 3 and growing as it is

  • It’s very unlikely the Labour Party will suffer meltdown in England or Wales. Scotland is another matter.

    For many people the defenestration of Mr Corbyn will come as a welcome relief and a signal for many sensible people to return to the party as the only alternative government at Westminster. Nothing is guaranteed of course…… that’s what many people believed of the Liberal Party back in 1910.

    Incidentally the call by Lib Dem M.P.’s for a circuit breaker was first initiated by Keir Starmer three weeks ago, so please give credit where it is due. Some Lib-Dem – Labour working together and co-operation to eventually rid the UK of this incompetent Johnson Government would also be welcome.

    As for Glenn, sorry Glenn, but there’s a real world and a Glenn world.

  • Helen Dudden 30th Oct '20 - 10:35am

    It was Jeremy Hunt, that was one of the reasons the NHS was weakened.
    The country needs a middle of the road approach to the problems, not a throw money at private enterprise.
    I don’t have the same faith as David Rae has in the Labour Party. I did receive some racist comments in the past. It was not purely one person, but several, and when I complained, nothing.

  • David Raw
    You should meet younger people and the unemployed this folly is creating. I now know a lot of people who have had the virus. They are not happy bunnies about more damage being done for an illness they barely knew they had. In the political sphere this might look great, but out in the real world people are getting very, very, annoyed with politicians who have no ability to admit they have no power over microbiology, and who seem to think that everyone is actually listening to them on the wireless waiting to find out who they can meet. The rules are a farce and nearly everyone breaks them all the time, including a good proportion of those advocating and making them.

  • There was an opportunity to offer a distinctively Liberal response here but what we have is essentially a restatement of Labour policy from about ten days’ ago.

    We cannot continually go though cycles of closing down the economy and putting everyone under house arrest – that is what a ‘circuit break’ policy amounts to.

    There needs to be some creative thinking about how we protect and shield those who are vulnerable, allowing them to have meaningful and fulfilling lives, while keeping as much as the economy open as possible. And, of course, those who are vulnerable should be allowed to make informed choices about the risks they wish to take, not simply be locked down by default.

    It is no good simply saying a full lockdown is a temporary solution. It will take weeks if not months to fix test and trace. Covid is here to stay and even if we get an effective vaccine tomorrow, it could be 2 years before it can be rolled out to everyone.

  • John Marriott 30th Oct '20 - 11:38am

    Oh, not again, Glenn and Matt! Give it a rest. It’s obvious that, if you lock down, you slow the spread of the virus. As there is currently no proven vaccine, once you open up, COVID will return as night will follow day (just as the sun will rise the day after we leave the EU – although given it will be January, we might not actually see it). What do you want to do, lock down and save lives and undoubtedly damage the economy and clearly the mental lives of many people or open up, give people their liberty to choose to continue to lead normal lives, rely on test and trace and allow COVID to let rip, mutate, subside, come back, subside again and become endemic, like flu, with a vaccine administered regularly to counter mutations and failing immunity? The trouble is, nobody really knows exactly what is going to happen.

    Germany and its wonderful ‘test, track and trace’ is held up as an exemplar. Well, you can test as many people as you like; but if found to be positive and told to isolate, will all these people actually do as they are told? It might work in a totalitarian country like China; but in a so called democracy that is so much harder. Germany is experiencing another spike, as are most countries except for places like New Zealand, whose geography makes it that much easier to keep the virus at bay. As for me, I’m 77 and would like to live a bit longer so, whoever wins, Glenn or Matt, this old guy is going to be careful.

  • @ Glenn “You should meet younger people and the unemployed this folly is creating”.

    As recent Chair of a Foodbank for four years… grandfather of seven, father of five and husband of a Director of Children and Adults Social Care in a deprived borough trying to cope with outcomes in the real world …. and as a vigorous opponent of the Lib Dem coalition legacy of austerity and welfare cuts when I was a Convenor of Social Care , who do you think I talk to and have met, Glenn ? You obviously belong to the Trump school of Covid Deniers so I won’t bother you anymore.

    @ Helen Dudden I didn’t say I had faith in the Labour Party, Helen…. simply gave an opinion on the current state of play in UK politics and the possible outcomes which you’re fully entitled to disagree with.

  • I agree with John Marriott and also belonging to the same age group as him, my wife and I will continue to do what we feel is sensible and responsible to be able to come out on the other side of Covid 19 and enjoy a few more years to properly engage in a normal life particularly with our loving family. In the meantime I will continue to be the grumpy old man!!!

  • @John

    You might be sick and tired of mine and Glenn’s constant back and forth, but someone has to challenge his views that he keeps posting on here.
    I would dearly love to not have to, but it is something that I feel passionate about.

    For me, it is not just about saving the elderly and the vulnerable ( though obviously this is something that is important) I fully agree that people have to take responsibility for themselves and come to their own informed decisions on shielding and the amount of risks that they wish to take.
    But what is more important to me and the reason for my constant arguments with Glenn, is I very much care about Public Health as a whole and I believe that by allowing Covid to rip would be extremely damaging to long term public health and put us back years if not decades.
    I am also deeply troubled by the NHS staff, many of whom are battling mental health due to covid and the effect that it is having on them emotionally and mentally and their ability to cope under these extraordinary circumstances. Many are having to isolate from their own vulnerable family members due to the risks they pose to them.

    So I apologise for boring you with my engagements with Glenn, but like I said, as long as he posts his dangerous nonsense, I will continue to counter argue.
    Just as I am sure you argue for things that you are passionate about, but I don’t see anyone telling you to be quiet on your views and neither would I.

  • George Thomas 30th Oct '20 - 12:22pm

    (Update): Monday on Libdemvoice: “A federal solution that works for all”

    Tuesday on Libdemvoice: Here is an article where former leader ignores devolution.

    Thursday on Libdemvoice: Here is an article where current leader ignores devolution…

    “That is why the Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to start an immediate national circuit breaker across the UK.”

    Wales and Northern Ireland are in circuit breakers already. It would be unfair and wrong if this extended because it was resisted in England and partially resisted in Scotland.

    All four nations working together would be an improvement to make clear guidelines which has helped in other countries make them easier to follow, but the next question being on how does it work. Scotland and Wales have for the most part had different guidance on young children compared to England – do we go back to having young children not being able to see their friends despite lower risk of being impacted by the virus because the more sizeable population are now used to this rule?

  • John Marriot
    I was not talking to the other fella and if you don’t like what I say don’t read it.
    David Raw
    Good, I will not bother you. I meet the people I work with (Tax payers who have mortgages to maintain), families to support, I have siblings with adult children and I have kids. They are a lot less polite about this than I am. I don’t deny covid exists, but testing has revealed huge numbers asymptomatic cases, most people who get it have mild symptoms and the official advise if you do test positive or have symptoms is basically to stay at home and not to bother the medical profession because you will recover without their help. But, I’m sure Johnson, Hancock, and Raab appreciate the continued support of people like your good self.

  • John Marriott 30th Oct '20 - 2:01pm

    Dear Glenn and Matt
    You are both right to object to my comments. It’s called free speech, I suppose. It’s a bit like me banging on about the merits of a Federal U.K. on other threads. It’s just that most of the pro and contra arguments have surely seen the light of day so many times in the past year that I personally am pushed to find anything new to say on the matter. Time for me to shut up then 😀

  • Glenn : “But, I’m sure Johnson, Hancock, and Raab appreciate the continued support of people like your good self”.

    Oh, dear, there you go again. Back in Glenn world. Do pay attention in class.

    Fortunately, I live in Scotland beyond the reach of that unholy Trinity.

  • David Raw
    Not bothering with me didn’t last long did it! I see support for lockdowns as tacit support for the people imposing them and authoritarianism in general .

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 31st Oct '20 - 5:06pm

    Unfortunately, the comments on this thread have rather descended into ad hominem attack and uncalled for accusation. Accordingly, this thread is now closed, and the most recent comments excised.

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