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UK coronavirus live broadcast: only 1% of Covid-related deaths in England and Wales; ‘Behind the curve’ test capacity | politics



Good morning. Boris Johnson got his first vote on the internal market bill last night very easily, but the morning paper keeps reporting that many are unable to get the test because several are focused on the coronavirus testing crisis. Won’t be of great comfort to you.

BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews)

Tuesdays Metro: No test traces “#BBCPapers #TomorrowsPapersToday

BBC News (UK) September 14, 2020 (@BBCNews)

Tuesdays Telegraph: Crisis in hospitals where medical staff do not have access to tests “#BBCPapers #TomorrowsPapersToday

BBC News (UK) September 14, 2020 (@BBCNews)

Tuesdays Times: Virus testing ended as labs struggled with demand. “# BBCPapers #TomorrowsPapersToday

September 14, 2020

In today’s program, Sir John Bell, professor of medicine at Oxford University’s Regius Medicine and government adviser to the life sciences, said the government is behind the scenes in providing testing capabilities.

Asked what was going on, he replied.

I think what’s wrong is the second wave. A month ago they had a reserve capacity to test a significant reserve capacity, but what was underestimated was the testing requirements related not only to the speed at which the second wave would arrive, but also to the pressure exerted on the system from children returning to school. And people are getting better and better.

So I think they are definitely lagging behind in getting the tests we need for what we need today.

Bell said the test dose will increase significantly over the next two weeks. But demand is also increasing, he said.

Of course this will get worse because we haven’t reached winter. But we haven’t all started getting sniper, fever, or cold and will add additional confusion to the problem. Demand will increase. The real question is whether they can get supply in a position to outpace demand.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers representing hospitals and other NHS trusts in the same program, said the government was not open enough to health leaders on the scale of the problem. He said:

Part of the problem here is that governments aren’t as open as trusts want about how big this issue is, how widespread it is, and how long it will last. Therefore, it is difficult to obtain complete information.

He also suggested that the government is too focused on spin.

Governments face choices when faced with operational challenges like these. For example, trying to communicate our way politically by seeing how many tests we have done or saying that we will do a very ambitious moonshot next time. Every year or so, they help and support organizations trying to solve these problems by calmly and soberly explaining the appropriate details of what is going on and by doing so. And I think there is a pretty clear view that trust leaders want the latter rather than the former.

When he said there was too much spin and that the actual information from the government wasn’t enough, he answered. That’s definitely one way to put it in.

This is today’s agenda.

9.30am: Boris Johnson chair cabinet.

9:30 AM: ONS publishes weekly death statistics for England and Wales.

11:00 AM: Sir Keir Starmer speaks at the Trades Union Congresss online conference.

12:00 PM: The Ministry of Education releases school attendance figures.

12pm: Downing Street will hold a daily lobby briefing.

12.15pm: Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, is holding a regular coronavirus briefing.

12:30 PM: Health Secretary Matt Hancock will answer urgent questions about Commons’ coronavirus.

Around 2pm: Legislators begin the first committee stage debate on the internal market bill. They will discuss amendments related to the functioning of the UK internal market.

2.30pm: WHO coronavirus envoy David Nabarro provides evidence to the Commons Foreign Relations Committee.

Politics Live has doubled as a UK coronavirus live blog for a while and will continue in the near future given the way the Covid crisis sifts through everything. But we’ll also be dealing with non-Covid politics, and we’ll have priority where it looks more important and interesting.

Here is the global coronavirus live blog.

I am trying to monitor the comments (BTL) below the line, but I can’t read them all. If you have a direct question, include Andrew somewhere and you are more likely to find it. I try to answer the question, and if they are generally interested I will post the question and reply on line (ATL). Of course, we can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to get my attention quickly, I recommend using Twitter. Im on @AndrewSparrow.

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