Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell warned of serious concerns of a chaotic high-Covid summer and the risks posed to health, of mutations, and to the survival of businesses.

During an update from the Secretary of State for Health in Parliament, Catherine raised “serious concerns about the short and long term impact of Covid and the risk of vaccine resistant variants” due to “huge and rising numbers of Covid infections in the North East” with the Delta variant “spreading fast amongst the unvaccinated and singled jabbed” and “relaxed restrictions set to accelerate the rate”.

The Newcastle North MP asked the Health Secretary whether Ministers had given proper consideration to the impact on business’ ability to function. She warned that sectors like hospitality are staffed largely by younger people who have yet to be double vaccinated, and “cannot resume normal activity when forced to operate with reduced staff and customers cancelling at the last minute due to self-isolation”.

Catherine concluded that “with the Government withdrawing economic support at the same time” from hospitality businesses “this Government’s summer of high-Covid may be too much to survive.”

Following the question, Catherine commented:

“We have seen a worryingly high and rising levels of Covid in the North East and increased numbers being forced into isolation.

“A summer of high-Covid rates risks dangerous mutations of the virus and more people having to self-isolate.

“We have already heard so many stories of businesses unable to open and losing custom due to soaring rates of infection and I know there is a real concern that this, combined with the Government’s winding down of economic support, may be too much for some hospitality businesses to bare”.