Ministers urged to ‘get ahead of the game’ on face masks

PUBLISHED: 09:59 04 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:59 04 May 2020

Health minister Matt Hancock said privacy concerns over the NHSX app were 'completely wrong'.  Photograph: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire

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Health minister Matt Hancock said privacy concerns over the NHSX app were 'completely wrong'. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire .

Ministers have been urged to “get ahead of the game” and learn from past mistakes by assuring the public what their plans are for stockpiling face masks.

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Labour has written to the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove urging the government to demonstrate that it has sufficient quantities of masks and a manner of distributing them to those who need them if such steps are required.

On Friday, prime minister Boris Johnson said that face coverings will be “useful” when lockdown restrictions are eased.

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Labour’s shadow cabinet office minister Rachel Reeves said that her party stands ready to help the government during the crisis.

She said: “The government was too slow to enter the lockdown, too slow to get vital protective equipment to NHS, social care and other key workers, and too slow on testing and tracing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“We need to know what the plans are to stockpile face masks in readiness for any change in the scientific advice. This is an opportunity for ministers to get ahead of the game and demonstrate they have learned from their mistakes, and we stand ready to help them to achieve that.

“Labour is supporting the government through this crisis when it is getting things right, and challenging it when things are going wrong. This is in all our interests to protect public health.”

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