James Wild: I’m pressing for a test site in King's Lynn
The latest column from North West Norfolk's MP during the pandemic period, Friday, September 18, 2020
Test, test, test. That was the World Health Organisation mantra and the UK has now carried out over 20 million Covid tests.
More tests are being carried out in the UK than other comparable countries including Germany, France, and Spain. However, due to increased demand there have been problems getting tests in part due to the return of schools.
Constituents have contacted me as they have been unable to get a slot, been required to travel long distances, or turned up at the mobile testing sites including in Hunstanton and been turned away because they didn’t have a QR code. This is incredibly frustrating and concerning when people are anxious to know if they, or their children, have the virus.
I have raised these issues with the Department of Health and the local NHS, as well as in the House of Commons with the Health Secretary.
I also pressed him on considering carefully the case I’ve made for a permanent test centre – rather than just a mobile site – for the public in King’s Lynn as part of the plans to expand capacity.
If you have symptoms then register for a test – if none are available the advice is to leave it for a few hours and then try again as more slots are added regularly.
One of the features of Covid-19 is that we continue to develop greater understanding of the effect of the virus. There’s increasing evidence a minority of people – but a significant minority – have long-term impacts and which can be very debilitating.
“Long Covid” is the term and symptoms include extreme fatigue and breathlessness.
I discussed with a constituent who is suffering from it the support needed as well as research required into long-term effects.
Importantly, these effects are suffered by young people which underlines the importance of us all following the rules.
This week the main parliamentary business was consideration of the UK Internal Market Bill.
This is about protecting the integrity of the UK, devolving more powers, and ensuring that businesses can continue to trade seamlessly across the UK. However, it is the measures relating to the Northern Ireland protocol that were the subject of much debate.
When the Withdrawal Agreement was negotiated some issues regarding the protocol were left for further consideration including tariffs and customs procedures.
The Government is working with the EU to secure a reasonable agreement so that are no damaging barriers to trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
However, the transition period ends in just over 100 days so the Bill includes a safety net to meet our commitments to the people of Northern Ireland.
This week marked the 80th commemoration of the Battle of Britain . One of the immense privileges during my time advising the then Defence Secretary, was meeting two of The Few and talking about their incredible experiences.
One of them Ken Wilkinson said “we were cocky. Stupidly cocky if you like. We just didn’t envisage defeat.” We owe all of those who fought in that battle a huge debt.
It is also a reminder that around the world, around the clock, our Armed Forces are working to keep Britain safe.