The coronavirus is a global pandemic, and the UK is collaborating extensively with international partners, including the EU. The UK has been leading the way to find a vaccine, with the University of Oxford and Imperial College undertaking the research that will be available to the UK and the rest of the world. The UK is also seeking a deal with the EU that would facilitate continued trade in all medicinal products, but of course the United Kingdom will be ready for all scenarios after the end of the transition period.
I thank the Minister for that answer. I welcome the news out of Oxford regarding a vaccine, but the Government’s border delivery plans announced on Monday bring into stark relief the extent of new barriers to trade in goods and services and movement of people across the border from 1 January. How will he ensure that during covid and in the event of future health emergencies or a second wave, that will not result in any delays to supplies reaching patients or interruption to the flow of vital machinery and equipment?
The hon. Lady makes an important point. Of course, the health of citizens is the first concern of Her Majesty’s Government, and we will be working with the Department of Health and Social Care and other Departments to ensure that category 1 goods, which include vital NHS supplies, can reach those on the frontline.