Although a week, let alone 3 weeks is a long time in Politics, back on 29th March Robert Jenrick who is the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government took part in the Coronavirus Daily Update and he made a statement which is produced below which focuses on how the Government has established local and regional plans for us all. He then went on to explain the detailed provison for our societies Personal Protection Equipment which has since been brought into question. It is understandable that Matthew Hancock has received a great deal of criticism for the PPE shortfall, partly because since the 29th March while Robert has only taken part in this set of presentations once (on 18th April) that in the same period we have seen Matthew Hancock seven times and indeed he was unable to participate from 24th March to 2nd April due to his own C-19 experienced. On the other hand although Robert has not been ill as far as we know, his decision to travel to more than one home in that time led his profile to be one that was probably mitigated to avoid political challenges. The speech he made on the 29th appeared to be a very carefully written speech that he read very clearly. The question has to be how come it has not quite become as credible as it sounded back at the end of March? Along with the lack of PPE ever since then, what has happened to the work from the regionally based strategic coordination centres?
“Today I would like to give you two updates before answering questions, the first is on the plans that I have put in place to ensure that every corner of the country can confront the Coronavirus epidemic, the second on what the Government is doing to shield the most vulnerable people in society. Now on the first question I’ve put in place in all parts of the country, procedures to ensure that everywhere can be ready to move forward together. All parts of the country are now on an emergency footing, this is an unprecedented step in peacetime. We haven’t done anything like this since the Second World War. This means that we are establishing strategic coordination centres across the whole country. Each centre is led by Gold Commanders. We’re bringing together senior members of the emergency services: The Police; The Fire Service; The Ambulance Service; with local authorities and the NHS to lead communities through this challenging period from Cornwall to Cumbria. We’ve embedded within each of these groups, members of the Armed Forces including some of finest military planners in the world. These groups are planning the local response to the virus using their expertise, their judgement and their leadership to ensure a comprehensive, a coordinated and a consistent response across the country. Now one issue that they have been helping us to coordinate and about which I know there is a lot of concern is the provision of personal protection equipment. We simply cannot and should not ask people to be on the front line without the right protective equipment. We have a clear plan to ensure that those serving this country at this time have the right equipment. We’ve established the national supply distribution response team and they’re supported now by the armed forces and other emergency services who are working around the clock to deliver the equipment to the people who need it most: 170m masks, 42.8m gloves, 13.7m aprons, 182,000 gowns, almost 10 million items of cleaning equipment and 2.3m pairs of eye protectors. All delivered to 58,000 NHS Trusts and healthcare settings including GP surgeries, pharmacies and community providers. Every single GP practice, dental practice and community pharmacy has had a PPE delivery. All Care Homes, Hospices and home care providers have or will shortly receive a delivery. To NHS and social care workers, all those who rely on this equipment and to their families and loved ones watching this afternoon we understand and we will not stop until we have got you the equipment that you need.”