Following the Government statement on the decision to pause the easing of covid-19 restrictions, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown calls on the Government to publish data on the risk to the health service and the risk to individuals of death, as opposed to those on the social harm and the harm to businesses.
Mr Speaker, this is an unexpected surprise, and I am sure it is for the Secretary of State as well. I am sure that he will be interested in my question. Ultimately, these decisions are a matter of judgment. Can he publish that data on the risk to the health service and the risk to individuals of death, as opposed to those on the social harm and the harm to businesses? Can he therefore tell us why this judgment has been made?
The best thing that I can point my hon. Friend to is the slides that were presented by the chief medical officer today. I will see whether there is anything further that we can publish, but as a general rule, we publish all the data on which these judgments are made. Central to the judgment today is the fact that we are seeing a rise in hospitalisations, especially over the past week, and especially among those who are unvaccinated or have just had a single jab. Those people are not largely those who are unvaccinated out of choice; it is those who are unvaccinated because they have not yet had the opportunity because they are younger.
Until about a week ago, hospitalisations were basically flat. We thought that the link might have been completely broken between cases and hospitalisations or that it might be a lag. Sadly, hospitalisations then started to rise. For deaths, we have not yet seen that rise, which I am very pleased about; hopefully they will never rise, in which case the future will be much easier. It may still be that there is an element of it that is a lag, and we will be looking out for that very carefully over the couple of weeks ahead, but nevertheless our goal is to get those vaccines done in the five weeks between now and 19 July in order to make sure that this country is safe. I will commit to publishing anything further that we can that underpinned the decision, but I can honestly say to my hon. Friend that most of it is already in the public domain.