'It is an absolute shambles' - Sheffield MP slams Government over Covid response

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Sheffield MP Louise Haigh has said we are all paying the price of the Government’s mishandling of the coronavirus crisis as the city was plunged back into lockdown for the second time this year.

Describing the Government’s response as an ‘absolute shambles’, the Sheffield Heeley MP said that confusing messages from central Government were now causing real anger across the north.

And she added that by not putting in place a proper test and trace system for monitoring local outbreaks of the virus, the Government had squandered an opportunity to get it under control.

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She said: “We have been told for nearly the past week that new restrictions were likely but there has been no information from Government for either elected representatives or the public, just briefings to the media.

Sheffield Heeley MP, Louise Haigh. Picture: Chris EtchellsSheffield Heeley MP, Louise Haigh. Picture: Chris Etchells
Sheffield Heeley MP, Louise Haigh. Picture: Chris Etchells

“It is an absolute shambles. We have really tried to support the Government and give them the benefit of the doubt but the communication, chopping and changing and conflicting guidance is really harming our ability to get on top of the virus.

“It is confusing people and there is real anger, frustration and resentment growing, particularly across the north. We feel we are being punished. People will be reacting with dismay at the announcement that we are being put under household restrictions again.”

Ms Haigh said given the current worrying data on cruising cases and hospitalisations, further restrictions were inevitable but that these could have been avoided if the Government had put in place a functioning test, track and trace system in place as they had promised.

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“The public filled our side of the bargain by going into national lockdown and the Government has not upheld its by putting in place the infrastructure that is needed to get on top of the virus and now we are all paying the price,” she said.

“This isn’t hindsight, the WHO told us this back in March. That is why we went into lockdown so the Government could get this in place and they just haven’t done it. They have outsourced it to Serco, G4S and Deloitte rather than the local authorities who have the expertise and capability themselves.”

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