Layla slams Government for “opening floodgates to new variants” and failing to protect troops

Good work from Layla Moran in today’s press.

First, the Guardian reports the Commons Library research commissioned by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus, which Layla chairs, which shows that the number of positive cases tested for variants has fallen dramatically.

The results suggest that in the three weeks to 17 March, there were an estimated 1,769 to 1,827 positive tests from people entering the UK from red list countries, of which somewhere between 63% and 68% were sequenced to determine the variant involved.

By contrast in the three weeks to 30 June, there were an estimated 445 to 507 positive tests from people entering the UK from red list countries, with estimates of the proportion sequenced ranging from 12% to 33%.

Layla highlighted the dangers of this:

“These figures are truly staggering and make a mockery of the UK government’s claim to be a global leader in genome sequencing,“ said Moran, adding the rise in the Beta variant in Europe should “be setting alarm bells ringing in government”.

“Yet instead ministers are dismantling our defences against the virus and opening the floodgates to new variants,” she said.

On Twitter she added:

In The Mirror, she takes the Government to task over rising Covid cases in the Armed Forces:

Cases of Covid-19 in the Army have rocketed by 63% so far in 2021 compared to last year, official figures reveal.

Some 3,281 positive tests were recorded among British Army personnel so far this year, up from 2,006 in the whole of 2020.

In total, 9,502 armed forces personnel have tested positive for Covid since the pandemic began, including 2,496 in the Royal Navy and 1,435 in the Royal Air Force.

Layla said:

“It is shameful that the government has let Covid rip through our armed forces.

“They are playing fast and loose with the country’s national security and leaving many of our brave troops at risk of getting long Covid.”

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12 Comments

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Jul '21 - 3:40pm

    Attended a zoom with Liberal Democrat Campaign for racial equality with Layla a few days back, very impressed with her and them as ever.

    Yes indeed the govt is laughable but so is the current world supposed leadership.

    The fact is new Zealand writ large could have worked.

    All countries could have shut borders, had lockdowns and kept borders shut for all but quarantined emergency travel.

    All pubs, bars, clubs, stadiums, theatres could stay closed for longer.

    And a basic income for those unable to work from home or in non essential jobs, world class, distributed to ensure lockdown happened even for the poor working.

    This joined up way, could have dealt with this and those such as me advocating it are the real freedom lovers. We love freedom from the virus and for doing worthwhile things.

  • George Thomas 24th Jul '21 - 3:53pm

    75 countries have less than 5% of their population vaccinated and will suffer massively with Delta being so easily transmitted.

    I know LD’s have spoken about it previously but real issue is allowing variants to emerge and be spread around the world to poorer nations who will have the horrific conversations about health and economy UK had during last year. Might not have the emotional tie of the troops but vital for it to still be spoken about.

  • Matt Wardman 24th Jul '21 - 8:14pm

    This look rather scaremonger-y.

    So, the number of tests of people, and therefore people, coming in from Red List countries is down by 70-75%, to about 475 over the last three weeks of June, all of whom are required to isolate in Quarantine Hotels (I think) and be tested twice whilst there before they get out, and must have tested negative.

    So that comes to approximately 23 people per day.

    Sorry for being openly skeptical, but I don’t think the sky is falling in Foxy-Loxy. I think rather that the APPG is short of material on this subject to be fuel for the outrage bus.

  • john oundle 25th Jul '21 - 1:28am

    Matt Wardman

    ‘This look rather scaremonger-y’

    Spot on,just looks very childish.

  • The only thing that is really scary is this governments incompetence!!!

  • I think that the point being made is the drop in sequencing of the virus being detected in people coming into the country. I admit it is difficult to follow what is intended, as it is in the Guardian article referenced.
    I certainly agree that there should be sufficient sequencing of the virus, but this is only valuable if there is a clear policy of containing the virus.
    I see no such policy.

  • Helen Dudden 25th Jul '21 - 9:29pm

    The sky has finally fallen. Always knew it would. Eeyore.
    My sympathies are for the many who have sunk into deep depression, as this situation sinks lower and lower.
    We cant live with a situation of an NHS that is simply been taken over, to serve only those with the virus, to me, its personally inhuman and lacks morality.
    To add one more comment, I personally have always like the attitude of Pooh, but realise that these children’s stories taught us much about human nature.

  • James Fowler 25th Jul '21 - 10:52pm

    @Lorenzo Cherin. Blessed New Zealand again. If only Britain could be an island 1000 miles from the nearest landmass with about 5.5 million people instead of 65 million and just one international airport of any importance. Even with all these advantages the folks down under are going to crack eventually. The virus only had to be lucky once.

  • Peter Martin 26th Jul '21 - 9:34am

    “Even with all these advantages the folks down under are going to crack eventually.”

    It’s already starting to crack in Australia.

    The problem with Aussie and NZ strategy, and we can add other countries like South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam, is in the possible end game. If virus levels are low their populations will be less willing to accept vaccination. Their leaders like in Australia haven’t acted with the necessary urgency to secure sufficient vaccine supplies.

    “……many of these poster boys of Covid containment are now facing criticism that they don’t have a solid plan to get out of their zero-case approach – and that they can’t hide from the world forever.”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-57492961

  • @Matt Wardman – This look rather scaremonger-y
    Yes and no, remember there was a time when there was no delta variant in the UK, then in the few weeks before the UK government got its act together and red-listed India, there were 7 arriving (and supposedly isolating) travellers that rapidly escalated to 70 residents and the circa 2000 residents…

    I think what is getting lost is the massive drop in sequencing of positive PCR results from travellers; regardless of which country they have travelled from and thus Layla is right question the UK government over the mismatch between its actions and its rhetoric.

    In some respects I suspect the reasoning goes along the lines, for a country to be red listed we have data about the level and (identified) variants of CoViD rampant in that country, so we can assume that a traveller from that country if they test positive are infected with one of the known variants, so no need to sequence. Plus as there is currently no variant that isn’t immune to the current vaccines, we don’t really need to worry about variants… Naturally, this will totally miss new variants until too late because naturally there is little or no data on new variants.

    The real question is what protocols do we need to have in place and what level of testing and sequencing activity is needed to enable a reasonable level of protection to resident populations (both in the UK and abroad) from travellers.

  • May be just changed priorities. COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) may have decided that it’s more important to survey the UK to determine how the Delta variant is spreading and detect any mutations that may escape vaccines. The UK is still doing more sequencing than the rest of the World…

    ‘Tracking of Variants: Country Submission Count’:
    https://www.gisaid.org/hcov19-variants/

  • re: rising Covid cases in the Armed Forces
    This is another set of figures without any real context. Given the typical age of armed forces personnel, many will only be now receiving their first vaccine dose, which seems to be reflected in the figures given in the Mirror article. It is not clear whether the level of CoVid in the armed forces is greater than in the same demographic of the general population (total number of personnel in the armed forces is circa 159,000) and whether a greater number have tested positive whilst deployed ie. they’ve been working in riskier areas.

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