The Coronavirus-19 Pandemic is the greatest threat to Public Health that we have seen in our lifetimes. The Prime Minister has rightly described it as a National Emergency and the measures that have been introduced to tackle it are unprecedented. However, the scientific advice, based on the experience in other countries, is that these are essential if we are to slow the virus spreading and consequently to save lives.
The number of cases of Covid-19 in Essex is once again rising rapidly. We are also seeing an increasing number admitted to hospital and sadly some deaths. The rate of increase is also accelerating, doubling every one to two weeks. While it is still predominantly young people who are affected, it is now spreading among all age groups.
I have spoken at length to Dr Mike Gogarty, Director of Public Health. Unless action is taken quickly to check the rise, there is a real risk that our hospitals could quickly be overwhelmed. Following discussions with the County Council and my fellow MPs in Essex, I reluctantly supported the request to the Government that Essex be moved to Tier 2 with “High level” restrictions. I realise that this will cause distress to many people who will find it very difficult to see their families and friends. It will also be a huge blow to a large number of businesses who are already struggling to recover from the first Lockdown. However, I accept that by acting quickly we stand a better chance of getting the disease back under control and avoiding a prolonged period of even harsher controls. By doing so we will also protect the NHS and save lives.
The task of the Government is both to do all we can to safeguard the health of the nation and to sustain the economy so that employees and businesses can pick up and start again when it is over. The Government’s advice including details of all the help available to people and businesses is available through the Government web-site: www.gov.uk which is updated frequently throughout the day.
The latest NHS Covid-19 advice: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
The latest Government Covid-19 advice and guidance: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
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