Autumn Lockdown | Simon Hoare

This Covid virus is a persistent one isn’t? There is absolutely no one who wanted to have to
have a second lockdown. However, the Government has always said it will be guided by the health experts. And I do mean proper real experts rather than the rash of ‘armchair epidemiologists’ that
spring up like mushrooms. By the time you are reading this I will have voted with the Prime Minister for a second lockdown. From my postbag I know that there is not universal support for this so let me explain briefly why I have done so.

First this was always a public health emergency.

It should only be confronted as such. Of course there have been significant impacts on the economy both locally and nationally but, as we have seen from a wide package of measures from the Treasury,
these can, in great part, be mitigated. We are into the season of short days and miserable weather. There will be negative impacts on mental health and on domestic violence as lockdown challenges bite. Both are horrendous but again, with resource, attention and engagement they can be addressed as they were during the first lockdown. What cannot be mitigated against is a tidal wave of pressures on the NHS that sees the whole edifice collapse. It’s great that so many nurses have registered to return to the
NHS.

That said, the pressure on the sophisticated nursing skills of those who practice in ICU using ventilators and other associated equipment is great and we have to keep a clear eye on that resource. It is the season, less of mists and mellow fruitfulness and more of flu, respiratory and cardiac problems bringing the annual ‘winter crisis’ in their wake. Such a lethal cocktail of NHS demand could see our hospitals and ambulance service at snapping point. Beds and wards full of Covid patients means, in stark terms,
that other needy patients would be back at the queue.

I am confident that the measures of lockdown can contain the spread of the virus, reduce demand
pressure on doctors, nurses and beds ensuring headroom for non-Covid health issues to be attended
to. In my opinion it would be an abdication of responsibility not to lockdown.

A word or two on schools remaining open if I may?

With three daughters in local schools I know how pleased they were to return to school. I also know, from conversations with Heads that too many children, those who can least afford to, have fallen back in their learning as a result of earlier school closures. Heads, staff, governors have all risen magnificently to the challenge of getting our schools as Covid secure as they can and where there have been cases these have not spread schoolwide due to robust action. We cannot sacrifice the futures of our young. We must ensure that education provides them with the keys to unlock life’s opportunities doors. With
continued vigilance and commonsense our schools will and should stay open.

by Simon Hoare MP

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