Following rising Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations in London, Munira questioned whether Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, regretted moving 40% of London’s testing capacity to other national hotspots.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Munira asked:
“The Secretary of State talks about testing being so important in providing data. Does he therefore regret that in recent weeks, we have seen 40% of testing capacity taken out of London?
We are now seeing hospitalisations rising, with talk about further restrictions in London, but we cannot base it on reliable testing data because there has not been enough testing done—people in my constituency and across London are still struggling to access tests. Does he agree that that was the wrong move to make?”
Matt Hancock responded:
“We ensure that testing is prioritised in the areas with the greatest prevalence, and we look at not only the number of positive cases but the surveys and the positivity rate. Those all inform the needs.
I understand why the hon. Lady rightly fights for more testing in her constituency, but we have to ensure that testing is used in the places where it is most needed. We know more about this because we now have mass testing, with capacity for over a quarter of a million tests a day, which means that we can take a more targeted and local approach.”
Following this exchange, Munira said:
“The rising number of cases in London and the fact that it has been put on the Government’s Covid-19 watchlist will worry people across London.
I welcome that we are now getting extra testing capacity but London’s capacity should never have had to be diverted elsewhere in the first place.
Most importantly we need to ensure the Test and Trace system in London and around the country is working properly.
At the moment, it’s clear that our Test and Trace system still isn’t up to scratch. Ministers must put more energy and resource into getting this fixed. Their failure to get this sorted to date is putting public health at risk.”