Burnley MP asks Health Secretary Matt Hancock what the exit strategy is for Tier 3 restrictions

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham has asked the Health Secretary for some "light at the end of the tunnel" following months of Covid restrictions.

Tuesday, 20th October 2020, 3:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th October 2020, 3:39 pm

Last week the Government reached a decision with council leaders to move Burnley and Padiham into Tier 3 measures as a result of a rising case numbers.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Mr Higginbotham asked Health Secretary Matt Hancock what the exit plan from Tier 3 was for the borough.

He said: “Burnley has had additional restrictions in place longer than most. And whilst that’s really difficult for residents and really difficult for businesses, everybody wants to do the right thing to bring the infection rate down. But to do that we need a sense of optimism – light at the end of the tunnel.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Photo: Getty

He went on to ask “whether the Health Secretary could outline what the exit strategy is from Tier 3 to Tier 2 and then into Tier 1? And also offer some reassurance that once the rate is down we’ve got a way of containing it so that we don’t move back up.”

In response Matt Hancock MP rose with the words "“Yes, yes”" stating that he understood the concerns of residents and businesses in Burnley before praising the MP for “speaking with passion for the residents of Burnley”.

The Health Secretary highlighted how the borough has the highest number of cases in the whole country for the over 60s, who are most vulnerable, reiterating the need to follow the rules to reduce the case rates and protect the health of vulnerable residents.

Getting the case rate for the over 60s down remains a key priority for the Government and one of the measures that will be monitored when looking at tiers.

“Once that happens we can talk about when we can start to relax the restrictions," said Mr Hancock. “I don’t want to have them in place a moment longer than necessary.”

The Health Secretary then went on to say that with the expansion of testing, including the new rapid testing kits currently being trialed in Lancashire, and the other tools including the test and trace app "we should be able to hold the virus down”.

The new rapid tests, which are to be rolled out soon, mean results could be available within the hour as they do not require a laboratory for a result.