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Julian Sturdy - Strong Voice for York Outer

Julian Sturdy

Member of Parliament for York Outer

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Julian questions Health Secretary on ensuring new 15 minute coronavirus tests come to York

November 10, 2020

This afternoon in the House of Commons, Julian pushed the Health Secretary to confirm York’s allocation of new rapid turnaround coronavirus tests, to help the city manage the issues created by having to protect a large student population alongside permanent residents.

The Health Secretary updated the House on encouraging progress towards a coronavirus vaccine, and rolling out quick ‘lateral flow’ tests, which can give a result in under 15 minutes, allowing the virus to be more effectively targeted and controlled. Matt Hancock explained that the NHS is being put in readiness to provide the vaccine, if and when approved, from 1st December.

He also announced the twice-weekly testing of all NHS staff from today with the new quick tests to protect them and patients. The Health Secretary additionally said that the lateral flow tests are now available to all local authorities that wish to use them to control the virus locally, at a rate of 10% of local population per week, with an initial 600,000 quick tests being sent to 67 local authorities who expressed interest as a first step.

Julian asked the Health Secretary: “Given the unique challenges of infection control in university cities…..will the wider roll-out of mass testing be available across university cities like York, for the whole population?

In response, Matt Hancock confirmed that the lateral flow tests are available to directors of public health cross the whole country ,and urged York’s authorities to get in touch to arrange this.

On leaving the House of Commons, Julian said: “Today’s positive news on vaccine progress and allocating rapid tests nationwide provides some much-needed hope as we continue through the November lockdown.

Given the Health Secretary’s answer, I immediately contacted York’s director of public health to ask if City of York Council are taking steps to introduce this new quick testing locally, how they see this fitting with the anti-virus effort in York, and what communication they have had with the Department of Health on this. Rapid, on-the-ground testing of this kind is essential for our community to head back towards normality.

Residents can be reassured that I will continue to lobby hard to ensure the government delivers for York on both the public health and economic aspects of this emergency.”