Daily Press Briefing, 28th April 2020 (Matt Hancock)

Amanda from Hull asked a really good question.
She didn’t get an answer to it.
Sadie was told thanks for her question
And she’s just going to have to stick with it.
It’s working well, these questions from the public.

And back to the press.

Hugh Pym wants to know about PPE:
Thank you Hugh, it’s incredibly important to me.
We’re moving heaven and earth
To be more effective,
Your assessment isn’t fair and objective.
PPE availability’s confined
To the agreed guidelines.
There’s a global shortage too.
Thanks Hugh.

Paul Brand, can’t hear your audio.
Here he is: The crisis in the care sector? Have a heart!
Of course, they’ve been a priority from the start
But please
They’re the most vulnerable to the disease
We’ve strengthened the rules on infection control (eventually)
And made testing available (eventually)
We’re now publishing the daily data (eventually)
My principle is to be transparent
But the deaths are going up daily!
They’re a top priority.
Here’s an expert.

Nick Martin from Sky:
Care home deaths
Are at 23% of hospital deaths.
Not saying that this is normal,
The number of deaths in care homes about one sixth in total.
Its an absolute focus in broad context.
Make of that what you will.

Ben Kentish.

No wait a follow up: You didn’t do your best.
You knew this was a high-risk area
But no PPE or tests.
And deaths in care homes seemed to take you by surprise.
I think you should apologise.
I know you care a lot about this
But you’re being unreasonable.
We always knew about care homes
But getting the data was unfeasible.
They’ve been in the front of my mind from the start,
The age profile sets them apart,
People are more frail and more at risk so we’re discerning.
Its been a huge challenge but we’re constantly learning.
So, Nick Martin from Sky,
In this session,
I dispute your question
Here’s an expert.

Ben Kentish:
You’re following the science
But why no facemasks in public?
Should there be some compliance?
And should we be
Disinfecting deliveries?
Our position hasn’t changed
Because facemasks are weak science.
Handwashing is strong science
And easily arranged.
Here’s an expert.

Dominic Yeatman:
Why didn’t ministers
Tell care homes to ban visitors
At the same time as the hospitals
When there’s no difference in risk at all?
Collection of data is difficult
In ten thousand different organisations.
It was clinical advice
Because care homes have different expectations.

James Caven, Daily Star:
No sunbathing, but B&Q had a long queue.
What can you do and what can you not do?
And ventilator production scaled back;
Is there still a lack?
For clarity: Follow the rules, stay at home, protect the NHS.
Spare ventilators is good news, I suggest.
We’ll sell them to another country with high COVID incidence
And pay tribute to the ventilator challenge participants.

Chris Lloyd, Northern Echo:
There’s an uptick in the regions, definitely.
So, will you lift the lockdown together or separately?
And how will your help be applicable regionally?
I pay tribute to people of the north east for staying at home,
They’re very gregarious and don’t like being alone.
Levelling up’s a top priority.
North east councils have money allocated
For fifty thousand businesses to be compensated.
Here’s an expert (on the shape of the curve).

Follow up question:
Will there be different times for easing?
We’re looking at it
But I don’t want to be teasing
Or give you false hope.
Because It’s not just the level, it’s the slope.
There could be a second peak wherever
So, we’ll do it together.

Adam Vaughan, New Scientist:
How many contact tracers have you got?
And how long until you’ve got the whole lot?
And as well as that.
What incentives are there to download the app?
Well as many as possible, as soon as possible.
That’s Not numerical, hypothetical or medical
I don’t know how many, and that’s crap
But they need to be in place in time for the app.
But never mind our procrastination,
We’ll tie downloading the app to the rules on isolation.

Well, it was great to see the New Scientist.
Your questions were terrific
And, um, scientific.
See you soon

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