Sunday, October 17

UK Covid Live: Head of Testing and Tracking Dido Harding Tells MPs No One Could Predict a New Variant Would Emerge | Politics

Good Morning. Matt hancock, the health secretary, was the 10th choice for this morning’s morning broadcast round and hinted that the government may still go further with its hotel quarantine plans for newcomers. Last week the UK government said it would make hotel quarantine mandatory for people arriving from high-risk countries, yesterday Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland would apply a “much more comprehensive” scheme, but we have not had all the details of none of the schemes or the new rules. they are not yet in force in England or Scotland.

In an interview with Sky News, Hancock defended the current UK government regime. He said the government was still working on quarantine plans for the hotel and that “mandatory isolation” was already in place for all people arriving in the UK (albeit at home, not in hotels). But he did not rule out going further. “We always seek to strengthen these things, but we already have very strict measures at the border,” he said.

I will post more of his interviews shortly.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30 am: Dido Harding, head of testing and tracking for the NHS, gives evidence to the Commons scientific committee.

9.30 am: Thérèse Coffey, the secretary for work and pensions, testifies to the Commons work and pensions committee on the response to Covid.

9.30 am: Grant Shapps, the transportation secretary, testifies to the Commons transportation committee.

9.30 am: ONS publishes antibody data from its Covid infection survey.

12:00 h: Boris Johnson faces off against Sir Keir Starmer at PMQ.

12:15 pm: The Welsh government is expected to hold a briefing on the coronavirus.

12.30 pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Prime Minister of Scotland, answers questions in the Scottish Parliament.

12.30 pm: Michelle Donelan, the minister for universities, responds to an urgent question from Commons about supporting students during the pandemic.

1.30 pm: Downing Street is expected to hold a lobby briefing.

17:00 h: Downing Street is expected to hold a press conference.

Also today, Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office Minister, is holding a virtual meeting with his European Commission counterpart, Maroš Šefčovič, on the Northern Ireland protocol. And Arlene Foster, the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, will meet Boris Johnson on the same topic. My colleague Lisa O’Carroll has a preview here.

Politics Live is now doubling down as the UK’s coronavirus live blog and given the way the Covid crisis overshadows everything, this will continue for the foreseeable future. But we will also cover political stories that do not belong to Covid, and when they seem more important or more interesting, they will take precedence.

Here’s our global coronavirus live blog.

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, put “Andrew” somewhere and you’re more likely to find it. I try to answer questions and if they are of general interest I will post the question and answer above the line (ATL), although I cannot promise to do this for everyone.

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