The MP for Lichfield and Burntwood says he is hopeful that a nationwide lockdown will only be a short-term measure – but he warned that “selfish people” could see restrictions extended.
The Prime Minister outlined plans for return to widespread restrictions across England from Thursday (5th November) at a press conference last night.
The lockdown is scheduled to end on 3rd December, but Conservative MP Michael Fabricant said exiting the new restrictions would be dependent on people following the rules and curbing a rise in COVID-19 cases.
“Nobody wanted another lockdown and a few weeks ago Government scientists were advising the Government 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 3rd December – if selfish people ignore them, and infection continues to rise, restrictions will have to continue.”Michael Fabricant MP
Mr Fabricant added that suggestions an earlier, two-week national lockdown should have been pursued were “completely contrary to all the medical scientific advice both then and now”.
“It’s not all doom and gloom”
The new restrictions will see a number of businesses face a return to closed premises.
But the Lichfield and Burntwood MP said support would be at hand for those affected – and insisted there was long term hope that coronavirus could be beaten.
“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.”Michael Fabricant MP