Since the writing of this article, Alok Sharma has been reported to have tested negative for COVID-19, which is a bullet dodged. Treat the thoughts on Coronavirus spreading from an MP through the House of Commons, as hypothetical.
Alok Sharma was at the House of Commons today and was reported to be looking “peaky”. Soon after, Sharma had left the chamber, put himself into “self-isolation” and has since been tested for COVID-19. The result of this is not be known at this time.
This incident has again raised questions on Jacob Rees-Moggs ability to fulfil his ‘leader of the house’ role, with ministers now calling on Mogg to resign as he has risked the health of all ministers and House of Commons.
Parliament return from recess this Monday, although Ministers were forced to return to Westminster instead of continuing to operate (and vote) remotely. On Monday, as many as 423 ministers were present to debate and vote on the House of Commons pandemic procedures. The 423 number does not account for the speaker, or any of the ushers, guards, security and advisors who would have been in the vicinity of Alok Sharma, or someone who had been in close proximity.
Government will be hoping and praying that Sharma’s COVID-19 test comes back negative, as a positive test in this situation could have huge ramifications. During the (2) House of Commons divisions (votes) which took place on Monday, ministers formed a kilometre-plus long queue, dubbed the ‘Commons Conga’.
Labour’s Barry Gardiner is one of the more vocal ministers on Mogg’s latest voting procedure, which he documented in video. While MP’s are forced to socially-distance, they are forced to snake their way around most of the Westminster estate, which could lead to an ill minister potentially spreading whatever they have, wherever they go (depending on how they voted).
Barry Gardiner may have made this problem much bigger than it is. On Wednesday Afternoon he attended the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest in central London, where he was in very close contact to thousands of people BEFORE Sharma took ill. There was no social distancing at the protest.
The worst-case scenario is that Alok Sharma tests positive, which, according to self-isolation rules, would most-likely see all ministers and commons staff having to self-isolate for 14 days. The knock-on effect to this would be that the NHS’s contact-tracers would alert everyone Sharma was in contact with, which would include Barry Gardiner, who was in contact with thousands of people!
Alok Sharma is now self-isolating and has been tested for COVID-19. Government have released no statements.
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