Government replies on the reform of the World Health Organisation and on how many COVID-19 tests are currently taking place each day an on their estimation of the number of daily tests that would need to occur before an end to lockdown may be safely considered. New questions tabled on the challenges facuing care homes and the death of the father of Dr. Cathy Gardner; the potential of the antihelmintic drug, Niclosamide, as a potential treatment for mild to moderate cases of COVID-19; the failure to answer a question tabled in April about the match between Liverpool and Atlético Madrid played on 11 March;United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali; and the humanitarian crisis facing North Korea; attacks on media freedom and journalists in China and Hong Kong.


Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4667):

Question from Lord Alton of Liverpool :


To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the case for reform of the World Health Organisation; and what steps they intend to take to ensure the organisation commissions an independent inquiry into the genesis of COVID-19. (HL4667)

Tabled on: 19 May 2020

Answer:
Lord Bethell:

We believe the World Health Organization has an important role to play in leading the global health response. The United Kingdom has long been an advocate of reform in the WHO to ensure it is flexible and responsive, and we will continue to be so. We also want to see the WHO continue to learn lessons on how to improve its response to global health emergencies and as such would expect a full review of all elements of their response once they are out of response mode, as has occurred after previous Public Health Emergencies of International Concern. The Secretary of State raised this point in the United Kingdom national address for the World Health Assembly on 18 May 2020 and we were pleased to co-sponsor the COVID-19 resolution, which was an important step forward on the review as well as other areas of collaboration. The UK intends to engage constructively with a future review, including working with other Governments.

Date and time of answer: 10 Jun 2020 at 12:17.

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Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL2999):

Question from Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many COVID-19 tests are currently taking place each day; what estimate they have made of the number of daily tests that would need to occur before an end to lockdown may be safely considered; and what measures they are putting in place to increase capacity and training of those capable of undertaking and evaluating the tests. (HL2999)

Tabled on: 22 April 2020

Answer:
Lord Bethell:

The Government is rapidly scaling up the national effort to boost testing capacity for COVID-19 to protect the vulnerable, support the National Health Service, and ultimately save lives. Further details of this work can be found in the Government’s Testing Strategy titled Coronavirus (COVID-19): scaling up our testing programmes, published on 4 April, which is attached.

There are a number of factors to consider in relation to easing of the present restrictions, with testing being just one. Consequently, the Department has not set a threshold on the number of tests necessary to end the current restrictions. The Government will continue to review advice on how testing, along with other efforts, can inform future measures to tackle the virus and how we can ease restrictions whilst keeping people safer.

The following documents were submitted as part of the answer and are appended to this email:

  1. File name: coronavirus-covid-19-testing-strategy.pdf
    Description: Coronavirus testing strategy

Date and time of answer: 10 Jun 2020 at 12:14.

coronavirus-covid-19-testing-strategy

 

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Written Questions House of Lords June 10th 2020

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government:

 

Question text

 

how many military personnel are involved in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA); how many of MINUSMA military personnel are from the UK; where in Mali MINUSMA is deployed; what is the total cost of MINUSMA; and how the effectiveness and success of MINUSMA will be assessed.

 

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what assessment they have made of the remarks made to the International Relations and Defence Committee by General Sir Richard Barrons on 12 March that the UK’s role with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission was “not in support of a strategy of any kind other than “We should do a bit more UN peacekeeping”.”

 

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what assessment they have made of the antihelmintic drug, Niclosamide, as a potential treatment for mild to moderate cases of COVID-19; and what assessment they have made of trials undertaken in South Korea on the use of Niclosamide to treat COVID-19.

 

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when they intend to answer the Topical Question for Written Answer tabled on 28 April (HL 3582), namely, what scientific advice was sought from Public Health England before the football match between Liverpool and Atlético Madrid on 11 March was permitted to take place; what assessment was made of permitting people to come together for a public event during a period in which Spain had placed its population in partial lockdown; who gave the advice on behalf of Public Health England; and which Ministers were involved in assessing that advice.

 

Question text

what assessment they have made of the humanitarian situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea following reports by the United Nations of food shortages and malnutrition; what steps they are taking to provide humanitarian assistance which reaches those in urgent need; and what discussions they have had with the government of that country to urge it to use its resources to prioritise the feeding of its people.

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Written Questions House of Lords June 9th 2020

 

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government

Question text

 

how they are using their Defend Media Freedom campaign to raise and address the curtailing of media freedom and attacks on journalists in China and Hong Kong; and what plans they have to introduce Magnitsky-like sanctions against those responsible for abuse of journalists in China and Hong Kong.

 

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what assessment they have made of the analysis published by the Local Government Association on 4 June that adult social care providers may face £6.6 billion in extra costs by the end of September as a result of COVID-19; and how they expect those costs to be met.

 

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what assessment they have made of the statement by Age UK that (1) some residents of care homes are being asked to pay more than £100 a week in extra fees to cover the costs of COVID-19, and (2) the inability of residents to meet these costs could precipitate closures of care homes leaving residents homeless.

 

Question text

what steps they took in response to the information published by Public Health England in February advising that (1) people should not be discharged from hospitals into care homes if there was risk of COVID-19 transmission, (2) it was not safe to discharge untested individuals to care homes from hospitals where there was between five and 25 cases, and (3) there should be no discharges to care or residential homes.

 

Question text

what plans they have to publish their response to the letters sent by the National Care Forum on (1) 26 March, and (2) 10 April which (a) stated that care homes were “being pressured into taking hospital discharge patients who had not been tested for the virus, even though they were exhibiting symptoms”, and (b) called for discharged patients to be tested or risk litigation over the “avoidable deaths” of residents who subsequently became infected.

 

Question text

what assessment they have made of the letter sent to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care by Cathy Gardner questioning the legality of discharging patients with COVID-19 into care homes, including the one in which her father died on 3 April, and calling for a retraction of the statement that a “protective ring had been thrown around care homes”; when they intend to respond; and what advice they have (1) sought, and (2) been given, by Government law officers in response to that correspondence.

 

Question text

what assessment they have made of reports that people with COVID-19 have died alone and been left for up to two weeks before being discovered; and what steps they are taking to ensure that isolated people without family or other support systems can be better (1) safeguarded, and (2) supported, during the COVID-19 pandemic. [T]