The Liberal Democrats have called on government to guarantee that no data will be passed from the NHS to the Home Office during the coronavirus crisis for the sake of public health.
Speaking in the House of Commons today, Wendy Chamberlain MP called on the Home Secretary to make sure that "no one who needs to be tested in relation to Covid 19, or indeed seek treatment, is put off by uncertainty over their immigration status".
After raising this issue in the Commons Wendy Chamberlain said:
"Under the hostile environment, there is a real risk that people who find themselves gravely ill with Covid-19 will be too scared to seek treatment in case it leads to questions about their right to live in the UK. This fear risks putting people off going to hospital for testing, which in turn may lead to greater transmission in the wider community.
"The Home Secretary's failure to provide immediate clarity here is deeply troubling. This is purely about what is in the interest of public health, rather than any wider ideology about immigration.
"The government must urgently make clear that, regardless of your immigration status, if you are seriously ill, go to a hospital. That is the only way to effectively provide life-saving treatment to the most unwell, and to limit the prospect of people transmitting this virus to others."