Michael Fabricant says “Nobody wanted another lockdown and a few weeks ago Government scientists were advising the Prime Minister that it could be avoided if everyone stuck to the rules on a regional basis. Sadly, they didn’t, though in Lichfield and Burntwood we did in the main. Just two weeks ago, I was discussing with Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, whether Lichfield and Burntwood could remain exempt from rising above Tier 1 restrictions.
“But in the last 10 days infection rates have soared with the very real risk that Covid would rip through our communities and completely overwhelm hospitals resulting in them having to turn away patients.
The lockdown which begins on Thursday will help prevent that from happening. If we all rigidly stick to the rules, the lockdown will end on December 3rd. If selfish people ignore them, and infection continues to rise, restrictions will have to continue. Some have claimed that if we had had a national lockdown earlier, it needed have only lasted two weeks. This is completely contrary to all the medical and scientific advice both then and now.
“But it’s not all doom and gloom. The furlough scheme has been extended with the state paying 80% of salaries. New drugs are available to treat infection that were not available last March, and the UK has invested in six different vaccines and has rights to others.
“The vaccine trials are going well. It is not unreasonable to expect that a vaccine will start to be rolled out in the first quarter of 2021. But it will be a huge programme. Two inoculations will be required with a two week gap and tens of millions of people will require vaccination. The logistics will be immense and the vaccine might not necessarily give total immunity. If it doesn’t, it will certainly reduce the effects of a Covid infection and its ability to transmit person to person. Like polio, Covid may always be with us, but vaccination will ensure the population remains safe.
“I am reasonably confident that by summer next year, we will be able to look back on this period as an extraordinary period of world tragedy, but one we got through together.
“For information on lockdown rules, click here.”