Starmer favours Boris Johnson for taking U-turn on NHS charge

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LONDON: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the Commons on Wednesday to scrap the NHS charge, said: “Boris Johnson is right to have U-turned and backed our proposal to remove the NHS charge for health professionals and care workers.

“This is a victory for common decency and the right thing to do. We cannot clap our carers one day and then charge them to use our NHS the next.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer

The decision came a day after another U-turn when the Government extended a scheme offering indefinite leave to remain to the families of all NHS staff who die as a result of contracting coronavirus.

Meanwhile some other important developments in wake of coronavirus are as follows:

  • John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow Airport, signalled his tacit support for Government plans to impose a 14-day quarantine programme for anyone arriving in the UK from abroad, but firmly backed the idea of “air bridges” between countries with lower infection levels.
  • EasyJet is to resume a small number of mainly domestic flights from 22 European airports from June 15.
  • Crime in England and Wales has fallen by a quarter during the Covid-19 lockdown, new figures show.
  • There was no evidence of increased infection from coronavirus among frontline NHS and care staff compared with those not working in such roles during two weeks in May, according to the ONS.
  • England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty told the briefing the total number of deaths from all causes was now down to the rate in an average winter. He said “All cause mortality has come down at the same time as the Covid deaths have come down and it is now at roughly the rate it is at in an average winter.

Prof Whitty also said care home deaths have peaked and have now come down.

On test, track and trace, Mr Hancock sought to play down the importance of the delayed app in the contact tracing process. He had originally said the app would be rolled out by mid-May but it has now been delayed by several weeks.

The Government is aiming for 25,000 human contact tracers to be in place for June 1 the earliest date for opening schools and non-essential shops in England.