Last week saw the introduction of ‘COVID tiers’ to ensure a more targeted approach to Coronavirus restrictions. The intention is to avoid resorting to the blunt instrument of a blanket lockdown. Telford is currently in the lowest tier of restrictions thanks to the efforts of residents in adhering to existing controls. People have done their very best in Telford to do the right thing and for many there has been a painful price.
There is no question that the impact of a 'sledge hammer' lockdown on lives, livelihoods, social inter action, mental and physical health and the education and wellbeing of young people, has been devastating and will be long lasting.
Those now arguing for what they call a “circuit breaker” or “firebreak” in favour of more targeted regional restrictions, need to ask themselves what they expect it to achieve. What does two weeks, three weeks or a month buy us? And where would we go from there? Why should businesses in Telford which have already had to weather their toughest times, be forced to close again, because cases in Glasgow and Merseyside are rising? How does that help Glasgow or Merseyside? Is the plan that we stay locked down until a vaccine is invented? How credible is that? There is much talk about "following the science” as if that were an answer in itself. Of course all decision makers must be informed by the best available opinion, based on solid evidence and data, but there is much more than just ‘Covid science’ for decision makers to consider.
What is clear is that we need an alternative to repeated lockdowns. Suppression clearly defers both the spread of the virus and its consequences, but the virus will still be with us. We must do all we can to protect those in the most at risk groups and ensure that the NHS is able to care for all those who need healthcare. The tiered system achieves that as we learn to live alongside the virus by adapting how we live, work and interact.
I will be fighting to keep Telford out of another lockdown. Our children and grandchildren will pay for this crisis. We must find the right balance and ensure that the supposed cure does not do more harm than the disease itself. Telford has a strong community spirit and I know we will get through this together.