Barbara Keeley Worsely MP

Worsley and Eccles South MP Barbara Keeley has welcomed a two-stage Covid-19 test for those visiting relatives in Greater Manchester care homes.

Visitors will have to take a rapid flow test taken upon arrival, but only after they have tested negative on a regular PCR test.

This comes after concerns were raised about the government’s plan to only use the rapid flow tests in care homes, which missed 50 per cent of positive cases in a Liverpool trail.

Mrs Keeley questioned the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, about the government’s plan, but was left unhappy at his response.

She said: “He was just saying, well it was risky, but there is always going to be risk.

“He said the only way to make care homes safe is to get community transmission down.

“But we won’t, for a long time, get it down far enough that that is the basis for visits.

The Labour MP delivered a damming response to the government’s actions, calling their plan “reckless”.

She explained: “My concern is the way the government have gone about this.

“What they have done is bypassed our local authorities and our local public health directors and went straight out and gave the proposals that this is going to happen.

“I’ve had lots of distressing contacts from family members who want to visit their family members but we want to do it safely.

“We don’t want to get into the situation we had last March.

“They have tried to be compassionate but it is not compassionate to bring Covid infections into care homes.

“With a vaccine just weeks away, why take this risk right now why rush out a risky visiting process when we need to see a bit more caution than this.

“I think the government felt under pressure and rushed this out without thinking.”


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