Parliament cancels events and tours as Covid cases rise


vents in Parliament have been cancelled for at least two weeks following a rise in Covid cases on the Westminster estate.

New guidance has been issued to politicians and staff to help prevent the spread of the virus after the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) determined the risk of infection had increased in Parliament.

Face coverings were made compulsory for staff, contractors and journalists – but not MPs – last month.

However, MPs are now being encouraged to wear masks on the estate and new guidance has also urged social distancing, particularly in committees, where health officials believe the risk of transmission is greater.

Meeting chairs are also being asked to take a stronger role in ensuring compliance with the rules.

A parliamentary spokesman said: “The House’s priority is to ensure that those on the estate are safe while business is facilitated.

“There have been recent increases in Covid-19 across the country and these are also being reflected in Parliament.

“UKHSA has determined that the risk of transmission on the parliamentary estate is now greater. As a consequence, some further action is being taken to ensure that case numbers do not continue to rise.

“The measures will be reviewed in two weeks’ time.”

Most MPs on the opposition benches have chosen to wear masks in the House of Commons chamber.

It follows Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer missing Prime Minister’s Questions and the Budget debate after testing positive for Covid-19 last week.

Despite the concerns of the spread of the virus on the parliamentary estate, the City of Westminster as a whole has the second-lowest rate of coronavirus cases in the UK.


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