‘Testing and tracing’ only way to get economy back on track says Just Eat founder
The Welsh founder of Just Eat, David Buttress, has said that only by “dramatically” increasing testing and tracing will the economy be able to get back on track.
Mr Buttress warned that without these regulations in place before the lockdown is lifted, a second wave and further lockdowns would be possible which would be “even more damaging both economically and socially”.
The Newport-Gwent Dragons Chairman called for “clear leadership” from both Welsh and Westminster Governments ahead of any easing of lockdown restrictions.
He was speaking ahead of his live-streamed conversation with Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price on Sunday.
“We all need to be back at work as soon as possible, but for this to happen comprehensive and regular testing must be ramped up dramatically,” he said.
“Businesses will also need access to the necessary safety and hygiene equipment, with clear social distancing rules and regulations in place.
“Customer confidence is going to be absolutely crucial, we need to restart our daily lives and we can only do this if we have absolute confidence that we are as safe as possible. For this to happen we need clear, fact-based and specialist advice on what the risks are and how to mitigate them along with clear leadership from both Welsh and Westminster Governments.
“If the above details are not put in place before the lockdown is lifted, then we risk returning into another lockdown which could be even more damaging both economically and socially.
“The Coronavirus has forced us all – business people, governments and consumers – to stare a new reality in the face. We have underinvested in areas of society like health, which is now having a massive effect on the speed of the economy recovering and our ability to recover quickly. It’s time to rectify that and quickly.
“On a wider point, over the last decades, as a society we have become more fixated with celebrity, over science and substance. We need to ask ourselves, who do we really value, invest in and educate in our society? The latest throw away celebrity, or scientists making medical breakthroughs?”
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price called on the First Minister to publish the Welsh Government plan for testing, tracing and isolating in the event of easing restrictions, adding that the only way to “ever safely exit the lockdown” was with a “Wales-wide mass testing programme in place”.
“The only way we can ever safely exit the lockdown is with a Wales-wide mass testing programme in place of testing, tracing and isolating,” he said.
“The First Minister has said that Public Health Wales are ‘working on a plan’ on community surveillance but two weeks later and we are yet to see it.
“The Welsh Government must urgently publish their plan for increasing capacity to test, trace and isolate. Give the public confidence that the lockdown will only be lifted when it is safe to do so – with a programme of widespread community testing, tracing and isolating firmly in place.”