Coronavirus in UK live blog: Sir Keir Starmer faces Boris Johnson at Prime Minister's Questions

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Wednesday, 6th May 2020, 8:01 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th May 2020, 12:13 pm

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Clinical staff wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as they test key workers at Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, England (Photo: Neil Hall - Pool/Getty Images)

Coronavirus live blog, May 6

Last updated: Wednesday, 06 May, 2020, 12:11

That concludes the first verbal duel between the PM and Sir Keir Starmer.

Sir Keir asks for reassurance on kids returning to school. 

Sir Keir asks whether the government will layout its plan and will he present it to the HoC on Monday and have questions from the House. 

Johnson says he will on Sunday and explains that it is taking place on Sunday because the government must be sure that data will support the government's ability to deliver its plan. That data is coming in continuously over the next few days. 

House will be fully informed and have a full opportunity to debate and interrogate the government on the matter. 

The leader of the opposition turns his attention to PPE. 

He says that 48% of doctors had to buy their own PPE or receive it by donation. Sir Keir says it's clear that this problem is going to get even more acute when the government asks people to return to work. 

He asks whether a robust PPE plan will be in place before the public are asked to go back to work. 

PM says he can promise a plan and says that he shares Sir Keir's frustration. Says there have been no national stockouts. 

PM says we are able in the long-term to serve the publics needs, this will be detailed on Sunday. 

Sir Keir says he thinks that the government has now confirmed that it was a capacity problem which limited contact tracing. 

He wishes the government well on the current contact tracing strategy that's being trialled on the Isle of Wight. He says we all support that in hopefully succeeding. 

PM says it is clear to everybody that studied the situation that the difficulty in mid-March was that the tracing capacity that UK had was no longer useful or relevant since the transmission exceded our capacity then. 

PM says the value of the current tracking and tracing programme now is that as we come out of the epidemic and we bring the cases down, we will have a team who can track and trace 100,000s of people across the country and thereby drive down the epidemic. 

“Most people with common sense can see the difficulties that we had at the time."

PM concedes that capacity higher than demand at the moment, but says that ambition is to increase capacity to 200,000 a day by the end of this month and then to go even higher. 

“Testing regime is critical to our long-term economic recovery."

Sir Keir says he's glad that the Prime Minister said that the target was now 200,000 a day, but having a target isn't a strategy. Testing, tracing and isolating is the strategy. 

“Contact tracing was happening in the UK, but it was abandoned in mid-march… we were told this was because it was not an appropriate mechanism. But yesterday the deputy CMO said it was to do with testing capacity. So can the Prime Minister clarify the position for us? Why was contact tracing abandoned in mid-March and not restarted sooner?”

Now Sir Keir takes aim at the government's 100,000 tests a day target. 

He says that the numbers have fallen since the target was met. Sir Keir asks “what does the Prime Minister think was so special about the 30th of April that testing that day was so high?”

Sir Keir says he was using another slide that the government put up at his conference last night which shows sadly that deaths in care home have been rising everytime they've been reported by the ONS. 

“And I have heard before from the Health Secretary that numbers are falling, he said that Sunday, that's not borne out by these slides. We all wait to see what the next slides bring."

The Prime Minister says Sir Keir is quite right to look at the crisis in care homes.

The PM says he bitterly regrets the situation in care homes.

Says Sir Keir is not right about the state of the epidemic in care homes. Says there has been “a palpable improvement” in care homes.

Holding up a slide displayed at the coronavirus daily press briefings which compares country death tolls Sir Keir says that the PMs argument "doesn't hold water".

Sir Keir says that though hospital deaths are falling, but care home deaths are rising. 

Asks “Why hasn't the government got to grips with this already?”

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