Good morning, I wanted to summarise a number of developments and share more information on them.
Testing, studies and vaccines
Starting today, all essential workers (find the qualifying list HERE) and members of their households showing coronavirus symptoms will be able to book a test directly online. They will then be able to use one of more than 30 drive-through testing sites across the country or receive a home testing kit, receiving their results by text. This will simplify the process, making it easier and faster for any essential worker in England who needs a test to get a test.The Government is also setting up an large-scale antibody study – more on that HERE.
You may also have seen the incredible news that human trials have begun on ground-breaking vaccine trials at Oxford University, with another trial on a different vaccine due to start at Imperial College in the coming months, both funded by the Government. There is more information on the Oxford trial HERE
As well as trials into vaccines, we are also running trials into possible treatments of the virus. More information on that HERE.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now live. This will enable employers to furlough staff, who will receive 80% of their salary capped at £2,500 per month. More information HERE.
I am in close contact with both Northumbria Police’s Chief Constable, and our local inspectors. Both report to me that there have been few problems and the vast majority of people are following the rules. Across the whole county, a total of 41 fines have been issued in relation to breaches of the legislation, since the new regulations came into effect. I am pleased to report that in my own constituency, there have been no fines. The Chief Constable confirmed to me this week that he is happy with the responsible way in which our community has responded to the new rules, and that the Force will continue to use the following approach: Engage, Explain, Encourage and only if entirely necessary/appropriate, Enforce.
Daily press conferences
As you may know, the Government is holding daily press conferences to ensure the latest information is available to the public. This usually involves the Chief Medical Officer or Chief Scientific Officer presenting the latest data. If you are not able to watch them live, you can find the information being delivered HERE.
My team and I remain available to help people where we can – on coronavirus and other issues. I have replaced my normal face-to-face advice surgeries with telephone surgeries to ensure I can still speak to constituents about any issues they need to raise with me.