Labour has set out a four-point plan to prevent a second wave of coronavirus and called on the government to take “urgent action” to ensure that local lockdowns are “robust and efficient”.
The party has warned that the country is “facing the risk of a deadly second wave of infections and a second national lockdown”, following the significant spike of cases and fresh lockdown imposed in Leicester this week.
Covid-19 could spread rapidly if the delays seen responding to the outbreak in the city are repeated, Labour has said. Steve Reed is urging the government to take the following four steps:
- “Ensure that local authority directors of public health have access to all Coronavirus test data, including the postcodes of all positive tests;
- “Provide guidance on exactly what legal powers are available to local authorities to rapidly put in place local lockdowns by closing schools, workplaces or neighbourhoods;
- “Clarify where decision making for local lockdowns will be taken, which decisions will be made by the government, the Joint Biosecurity Centre or left for local authorities to take; and
- “Keep the promise to fund councils in full for the cost of the crisis, so that they don’t have to cut the resources they need to keep our communities safe.”
The Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary said: “The government made local lockdowns a key component of the exit strategy but yet again they were too slow to involve local authorities, just like they were too slow to enforce the lockdown nationally.
“The lack of a functioning test, track and trace system, coupled with their failure to give councils the power to take action quickly could lead to local outbreaks becoming deadly national ones.