Councillor Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council, has given his response to news that England will return to a national lockdown with immediate effect.
Councillor Morgan said: “I have been saying for some days now that urgent and decisive action is needed. We have been seeing spiralling infection rates both across the country and here in Knowsley and the wider Liverpool City Region. Sadly, I believe that a national lockdown is the only way of bringing these rates back under control while we wait for the vaccine to be rolled out.
“I have been so heartened to see the fantastic level of public engagement in the mass testing in our borough and City Region – it has been clear that our local communities are willing play their part. But the measures in place were not enough, especially when we know that viruses transmit more readily in the winter months. So now I’m asking people to dig deep and find it in themselves to do what needs to be done over the next couple of months so that we can get on top of this dreadful virus – hopefully, once and for all.”
Councillor Morgan and Knowsley Council had been calling for the Government to introduce a national lockdown in the light of rapidly rising COVID-19 cases over the Christmas and New Year period.
Councillor Morgan continued: “None of us relish the idea of another lockdown – quite the opposite. But we know that lockdown does work. Back in October, our rates reached 720 per 100,000 – at that time, they were the highest in the country. We moved into Tier 3 – the first area in the UK to do so – and our infection rates came down to below 100.
“We always knew that rates would increase with the relaxation of restrictions over the festive period, plus we are also identifying more people with COVID-19 who are not displaying symptoms.
“Importantly, we also know that, by following the advice, our rates will come down. I know that following the rules is extremely challenging, but we need this action to try to contain the virus.
“I know that this will have an impact on the local economy and we will do all that we can to support our businesses.
“Our schools will support parents and carers with remote learning to ensure our children and young people’s education can continue. And all of our schools will stay open to support vulnerable children and the children of key workers – just as they did throughout 2020.
“I know that this doesn’t help everyone and some of our residents who need to go to work are now faced with childcare issues. The Government advises that parents can form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare where the child is under 14 and using your support bubble if you have one established.
“I have to be honest. It is going to be tough. But one thing which I know about Knowsley is that we have incredible resilience and a real “can do” attitude. And the roll-out of the vaccine has now started, so we must all keep in mind that there is hope on the horizon.
“So please, let’s all play our part, stay at home, protect our NHS, bring our infection rates down, and strive to get back to some kind of normality over the coming months.”
The full national lockdown restrictions can be found on the Government’s website.