The Health Secretary, Matthew Hancock, made a statement to the House of Commons this morning (10th September) on Covid-19 testing and on the new ‘Rule of 6” which forbids groups of more than 6 to meet in private or in public. Michael says “This is a regrettable move, but necessary if we are to avoid the metioric spike in infections now being experienced on the European continent and in the United States and India. The rule is simple: no more than 6 can gather together unless they are in one household. And the police have powers to enforce this with £100 fines for first offences.
“Meanwhile, despite the UK now having greater testing capacity per capita than Germany, France, Spain, or the US, demand has exceeded supply because people displaying absolutely no symptoms do not have the antigens to activate the test. It just doesn’t work unless you are displaying symptoms. They are wasting their time getting tested and depriving others with symptoms who do need to be tested.
“I raised this issue today in the House of Commons with the Health Secretary.
“I asked: ‘My Right Honourable Friend has said time and time again this morning that if you haven’t got symptoms, don’t go and get tested, because, frankly, the antigen test just doesn’t work on Covid if you don’t have symptoms. But Patrick McLoughlin, a good friend of ours now in the House of Lords, always used to say to me: ‘if you want to keep a secret, say it in the Chamber of House of Commons.’
‘So can I ask the Secretary of State for Health, how can we get this message across, with some sort of snappy title, rather like the Rule of Six, it’s very straightforward, how can we get it across that if you haven’t got symptoms, it is pointless, and a waste to others if you go and get tested?’”
The Health Secretary replied: “Lichfield! I can think of no better way than to get my Honourable Friend out and about making that case, in a socially distanced way of course! He’s quite right, we’ve got to get the message across, in the first instance to members of this House, and I hope we’re doing that today. Also we’re making that clear of course in the communications around the process of getting a test, to ask people if they have symptoms, and make clear that they are not eligible otherwise, and we’re reviewing what more we might need to do, because we’ve got to use the testing capacity, the record testing capacity we’ve got, for the people who really need it most.”