Many of you would have watched last night's address to the nation by the Prime Minister, announcing a national lockdown, as he asked the British public to once again: stay at home, control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.
Like so many other decisions taken during this pandemic this was another tough choice to make. No one wants to restrict the activities of their fellow citizens in this way. This decision was not taken lightly and follows a rapid rise in infections, hospital admissions and case rates across the country, attributed to the new variant of COVID-19. This has put our hospitals under more pressure now than they have been at any other point throughout the pandemic.
While there is no doubt that in fighting the old variant of the virus, our collective efforts were working and would have continued to work, we now face a new variant of the virus – which is spreading at an alarming speed. It is clear that we need to do more, together, to bring this new variant under control while our vaccines are rolled out.
- From this morning, you must once again stay home:
With the UK’s Chief Medical Officers advising that the country should move to alert level 5 - meaning that if action is not taken NHS capacity may be overwhelmed within 21 days – it is clear that these measures are now essential. Parliament has been recalled to debate these measures tomorrow, with these new restrictions due to be formally reviewed on 15th February.
Now more than ever, we must pull together following the new rules. The weeks ahead will be the hardest yet but I really do believe that we are entering the last phase of the struggle. Because with every jab that goes into our arms, we are tilting the odds against Covid and in favour of the British people.