Rachael Maskell MP
Rachael Maskell MP

The MP for York Central has met with city leaders across business, health and the community to listen to concerns about the impact of the current Covid19 surge in infections. Resultant of this, MS Maskell has written to the Prime Minister, Chancellor and Health Secretary to call for an urgent rethink in their approach to managing the pandemic. She believes that with the virus out of control again, that measures need to be applied to keep people safe. People are still getting very poorly from Covid19, and tragically people are dying.

As infection rates soar, the NHS Covid19 App is instructing more people to isolate. With everyone knowing that the App is hyper-sensitive to other’s phones, the scale of these message ‘pings’ is rising exponentially resulting in more and more people having to stay at home. The App, however cannot discern if someone it links with is the other side of a solid wall or two or three floors above them in a building. Therefore people are receiving a ‘ping’ and it may or may not be a genuine contact. People are simply losing faith in the App and therefore just switching it off. The MP for York Central is urging people to keep the App on, and has instead asked the Prime Minister to change their messaging so if it ‘pings’ that it simply means go immediately and get a Covid19 PCR test.

Getting a test is the best way of knowing if you have Covid19, so the App should be an indication that you need to go and get a test. Test and release systems can then let people return to work as soon as there is confidence that they are negative. Clearly if you are in a household with someone who has tested positive, then you will still need to isolate, as the risk is greater that you could also have the virus.

The MP has also written to the Chancellor to ask for further support for businesses, including the extension of the furlough scheme to be inclusive of newer members of staff, and for financial help to keep good local businesses afloat during this difficult time.

She believes just as we were reaching the final hurdle in this race against Covid19, that we are now in danger of doing another lap, something none of us want. She is therefore calling on all residents to maintain social distancing (2m), face coverings and high hygiene standards.

Rachael Maskell MP says:
“I have written to the Prime Minister to call for a fix of the Covid19 App, so that you keep it on, but if it ‘pings’ then you have to go and get a PCR test and then stay at home until you are told it is safe to do so. This is a far more effective way to make sure that no-one is locked down that doesn’t need to be, while ensuring that everyone who has Covid19 must stay home.

“We all long for the day when we don’t need to keep our distance or cover our faces, however as infection rates spiral out of control again, people are becoming poorly and tragically some dying, now is not the time to give up. There is no greater act of kindness than to ‘be sensitive and be safe’.

“We have come through the ups and downs of the last 18 months together, showing our kindness and support for one another, respecting each other’s space and making sure that aerosol droplets are not passed onto others. We just have to go that further bit forward to bring those infection rates down again. I know what a caring and supportive community York is, and therefore I implore you not to throw caution to the wind at this point, but to continue to protect one another.”


The MP has also asked for the local contact tracing system to be restored, as it was highly effective in locking down the virus. York was able to get access to live contact tracing data following a series of meetings the MP had with the Health Minister and York’s Director of Public Health.


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