Christopher Whiteside MBE is Conservative County Councillor for the Egremont North and St Bees Division of Cumbria County Council. The division includes St Bees, Bigrigg, Wood End, Moor Row, part of the Mirehouse area of Whitehaven, and surrounding countryside.
He is also deputy chair (political and campaigning) of the North-West region of the voluntary wing of the Conservative party.
Chris lives and works in Copeland with his wife and family.
Wednesday, November 04, 2020
COVID restictions approved
Today MPs agreed by 516 votes to 38 to pass new national restrictions which will come into force in England from tomorrow (Thursday 5th November) – as people will be asked to stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.
Unless we all act now, we could see at least twice as many deaths over the winter compared with the first wave. Faced with this latest advice from the government's scientific advisors, plus nearly five hundred deaths in the latest 24 hour reporting period the risks associated with a failure to take further action at a national level are too great to ignore.
It had been hoped that Britain could manage the situation with a regional system of alert levels, and allow as many people to live as normal a life as possible. That’s because a national lockdown is not cost-free – it creates a risk to jobs, businesses and livelihoods, and it particularly impacts on mental health and loneliness. It was right to try every possible option to get this virus under control at a local level, with strong local action and strong local leadership.
Following this vote tonight, and from tomorrow until the start of December, new national restrictions will be enshrined in law, expiring after four weeks. Any further national restrictions will need to be voted on after the end of this four week period. Advice shows that this four-week period will bring R below 1, and the government will work with MPs on next steps after that.
At the end of four weeks, on Wednesday 2nd December, the government will seek to ease restrictions, going back into the tiered system on a local and regional basis according to the latest data and trends.
It remains a high priority to keep people in education – so childcare, early years settings, schools, colleges and universities will all remain open. It is also a high priority to to take action now to protect the NHS and that is why the lockdown that almost nobody wants is necessary,
We need to take action now to protect the NHS, to reduce transmission and to save lives.