The UK is seeing an alarming increase in covid cases. While the public has gone to extraordinary lengths to help control the virus in recent months, the failures of government to deliver an effective test and trace system are now resulting in a rapid rise in cases locally. Our coronavirus ‘rate’ – the prevalence of the virus in the community – now stands at 130.8 per 100,000 people. For context, Solihull faced additional restrictions last month when they hit 65 cases per 100,000.
We’ve reopened the economy and have welcomed students back into the community. But government simply didn’t prepare. By way of example, a local testing facility in Leamington is only just coming into operation four weeks after students returned. I questioned the Prime Minister about this failing last week, to speed things up. I am also aware some local schools are closing (often at very short notice) due to outbreaks. Parents who need to care for their children self-isolating must be given financial support if they cannot attend work as a result. Earlier in the week, I asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to extend the £500 support payment to parents affected by this.
Ultimately, we need a two-to-three-week circuit break that will give us a chance to fix testing, protect the NHS and get control of the virus. Clarity and simplicity are vital, but we need to re-set the health situation and buy time to sort the test and trace system. Without action, the government risks sleepwalking into the same devastating situation we faced earlier in the year.
Covid restrictions have had a huge impact on the economy but also our local sports clubs. I recently spoke in parliament about the need to urgently get funding to Leamington Brakes and Racing Club Warwick, as well as Central Ajax and other grassroots teams. I welcome the funding that has been announced so far, but it needs to be delivered as quickly as possible.
As ever, I can be contacted by email at [email protected] or by ringing my office on 01926 882006.