Oliver Dowden backs NHS Test and Trace app to be ‘core tool in UK armour’ against COVID-19

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The Culture Secretary seemed unsure regarding certain aspects of the Government’s response to the pandemic, stating several times that Matt Hancock would be in a better position to answer LBC’s Tom Swarbrick questions. However, Mr Dowden confidently backed the NHS Test and Trace app to become a key tool in Britain’s battle against COVID-19.

Mr Dowden said: “Well I think, this is being run by the Health Secretary.

“I think you would have to ask him the specifics of the numbers, of how much money has been spent, I’m afraid I don’t have that number to hand.

“I’m responsible for digital policy, but he can give you the exact number of the precise amount of money that has been spent.

This process has been run through the Department of Health, so I don’t want to give you or your listeners misleading information on this.”

The Conservative MP added: “I was in touch with the Health Secretary this morning, I think we are working rapidly to resolve those challenges and most of the challenges have already been resolved.

“Clearly when you launch something, in the first day or two there will be some issues like that, but we are getting on top of that.

“It is not fair to say that this thing is not useful to anybody. It enables people to know whether they have been proximate to someone who has the disease.

“This is another tool in the armoury. But the core tools in the armoury are the Test and Trace.”

Earlier on Sunday morning Mr Dowden was quizzed on the Government’s 10pm curfew in pubs by the BBC’s Andrew Marr.

Mr Marr said: “Those of us who remember the old days when there was a hard end to drinking in pubs remember what happened in the last hour to half-hour.

“Everybody just drank harder and faster and poured out altogether, as is happening in London now.

“In other words, there is no science behind this, I put it to you, and it could make things worse, not better.”

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The Culture Secretary replied: “That’s why we’re requiring people to be seated in pubs and restaurants.

“That stops the flow of them to and from the bar.

“We are reducing the closing times in order to stop people staying later and drinking.

“The point about all of this is that everyone has their part to play.”

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