Today I voted in parliament for a second lockdown in England.
I did this to protect the NHS and to protect vulnerable and older people in Eastbourne and Willingdon, even though I have grave concerns about the damage it will do to our town’s economy.
However, I believe, on balance, it was the only option because today we recorded the highest national covid death total since May and with winter coming, we had to act.
I have also been told this week that infection rates in Eastbourne have risen quite dramatically. Just a few weeks ago, it was around 20 per 100,000 people but now it is more than 100 infections per 100,000 with evidence of community transmission occurring too.
This means we still have a much lower infection rate than other parts of the country and I remain confident the lockdown will lower it.
Moving forward, I will press the government for Eastbourne to promptly move out of lockdown and back to the tier approach after 2nd December so something of the Christmas season can be saved. Our attractions, shops, hotels and bars and restaurants did so much to become covid secure and to bounce back from the first lockdown.
Every sinew now needs to be stretched to get Test and Trace responding quickly so we can identify local infection spikes much earlier. This is the way to go back to some form of normal and to avoid any further lockdowns, especially while a vaccine is not with us.
I know what will happen over the next four weeks is an enormous ask of everyone. I am fearful for those who will suffer with their mental health and loneliness and for those worried about their jobs and businesses.
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I would like to express my gratitude for what everyone is doing and for those who continue to volunteer, to work on the health frontline, in essential jobs and services and in our schools which thankfully do remain open.