Gareth Davies MP has tonight issued the following statement for all constituents of Grantham and Stamford:
"This evening the Prime Minister has announced that we are moving to a national lockdown given the rate of transmission of the new variant which is far worse than the original strain. The situation is very serious and means that people are to stay at home and should only leave for limited reasons which are clearly defined in the guidance provided below. You should follow the new rules from now, and they will become law in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The action taken tonight is necessary at a national level because the number of coronavirus patients in our hospitals has increased significantly to c. 27,000, this is 40% higher than the first major peak of the virus back in April. Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the four UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England Medical Director have recommended that the UK alert level should move from level 4 to level 5, this means that there is now a risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed. To read the full statement on this recommendation please find it here.
Here in South Kesteven the picture is also bleak, as at today, we have 384.8 cases per 100,000 representing another significant increase compared with recent weeks. This is also true of our neighbouring areas of South Holland now at 258.9, Rutland at 220.4, Peterborough at 433.6 and North Kesteven at 290. Our district is significantly higher than Lincolnshire’s average of 271.1 and is now sadly experiencing the highest rates in the county. As usual, you can find the latest data on COVID-19 infections here.
I realise there will be many questions about what the new rules issued tonight will mean for our daily lives, and so to assist and provide this information, the Government has issued detailed guidance online and you can read this in full here.
As I have stated before, there is light at the end of the tunnel in that the UK now has two approved vaccines and thanks to the enormous efforts and hard work of teams across the country we have so far vaccinated more people than the rest of Europe combined and the pace of vaccination is accelerating. As the Prime Minister said tonight, the NHS realistically expect that by mid-February the first vaccine dose should have been offered to everyone in the four top priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. These are:
- All residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
- Everyone over the age of 70
- All frontline health and social care workers, and;
- Everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.
I know many people are deeply concerned about this ongoing crisis, and particularly about the new strain and rapid rise in infections. To get through this we will need to continue to stick together, look out for neighbours who may now be shielding, read through and follow the guidance to ensure that infection rates can be brought under control and encourage others to do the same. I will be holding meetings in the coming days with our local healthcare leaders just as I have been doing throughout this crisis and please be assured that my team and I stand ready to continue providing support to constituents and businesses in serious need as we enter this new stage in the fight against COVID 19."