AFTER over a year of restrictions, I share the frustrations of many as the Prime Minister confirmed that the next stage of his road map will be delayed by four weeks.
It is said by Ministers that the delay is merely a few weeks, but I know from talking to businesses and constituents that many sadly do not have the luxury of a few extra weeks.
Businesses are at breaking point having already invested depleted savings to make their premises compliant with restrictions to then have any prospect of profit snatched away as trade is limited for a few extra weeks.
A grave health crisis is mounting as waiting times for cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other ailments grow by the day as the NHS still must have primary focus only on Covid-19, despite our leading vaccination programme protecting the most vulnerable and cutting hospitalisations by over 80 per cent.
It does not have to be this way. From the start of the pandemic, we were told that a vaccine would be our route to ending restrictions and reclaiming our freedoms.
Through the ingenuity of the scientific community, we have not one but four vaccines approved for use in the UK.
Thanks to the efforts of health professionals, the armed forces and volunteers, we are ahead of schedule in our vaccination programme and over 50 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated, including the most vulnerable groups that have made up over 80 per cent of hospitalisations and 99 per cent of Covid-related deaths, leading to the link between cases and fatalities being greatly diminished
Sadly, there will always be deaths due to Covid-19.
There will always be new variants of Covid-19.
There will always be cases of Covid-19.
These are facts that will never change. Not in four weeks or even four weeks after that.
What does need to change now is that we have to learn to live with Covid-19. Vaccinations gives us the confidence to do this, and I am certain that the damage caused by this four-week delay will be worse than any risk posed by the virus.
The number of MPs who have reached the same conclusion as I have is growing and I will continue to work with them going forward to speak up for the hospitality sector, the travel and tourism sector, those awaiting medical treatment, and those whose mental health has suffered.