AS England prepares for another month in lockdown from Thursday this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed Parliament thanking the millions of people who have put up with local restrictions, insisting there was now no alternative to another lockdown.
He warned of the dangers of allowing the NHS to be overwhelmed with Covid patients and set out the “medical and moral case” for stopping that happening. “The sick would be turned away” as hospitals would be full up with Covid patients, Mr Johnson warned, while cancer treatment, heart surgery, and other life saving procedures could all be put at risk”.
The Government has said the latest lockdown will end on December 2, when the tiered system of local restrictions will resume.
Last week, as all the Humber local authorities were moved into Tier 2, each of our council leaders gave their views on the move.
Hull & Humber Chamber Chief Executive, Dr Ian Kelly, said: “The Chamber is concerned about the impact a second lockdown will have on our local businesses and economy, but we recognise that there is little choice with the virus rising exponentially, particularly in the Humber.
“The Chamber supports the reaction of all four of our local authority leaders following the news that the Humber had moved into Tier 2 Covid restrictions and encourages all of our business community to work with public sector partners to do all we can to tackle the spread of the virus in the coming weeks and months as we all work together to preserve everyone’s health as well as our local economy”.
Cllr Rob Waltham, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said: “Whilst infection rates in North Lincolnshire remain lower than in many parts of the country, we have still experienced a rising number of positive cases in most recent weeks particularly among those aged over 59. These are among the groups most at risk.
“It is this, the very real risk to our older residents, our mums, our dads, our grandmothers and grandfathers, which has caused most concern and led us to move up a tier in the Local Covid Alert Levels.
“I would urge everyone in North Lincolnshire to follow the guidance in order to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities.
“I understand this requires sacrifices, especially families not being allowed to meet socially indoors, but if we all play our part we can reduce the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and return North Lincolnshire to the lowest alert level.
“Now would be a good time to download and complete the council’s Personal Covid-Secure Plan designed to help people put in place measures to stop the spread of the virus.
“There will be some impact upon people’s lives and upon a number of businesses but we have secured access to immediate Government monies to help those businesses navigate these uncertain times.”
Philip Jackson, Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council said: “As infection rates rise, we must continue to follow the rules, if we are to succeed in reducing the spread of Covid-19.
“This is a challenging situation, and will understandably cause concern, but I would urge everyone in the borough to stay strong and keep going during the difficult weeks and months ahead.
“Our new Tier 2 classification is a reflection of the change in infection rate across our authority area. Covid-19 isn’t going away just yet, but there are lots you can do to help reduce the spread.
“The key now is for people to respect the government’s messages, and do what we can to support the effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Everyone can play their part.”
Councillor Richard Burton, Leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “Residents and businesses of the East Riding have been fantastic in their efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 and in supporting each other through this global pandemic and I’m confident that they will respond positively to this new phase of the public health crisis by doing what is being asked of them.
“We said from the start that we would need to have a collective #TogetherEastRiding public spirit to get through this and to also be flexible in our approach to what continues to be a rapidly-changing situation.
“The change in local alert level will bring new challenges. We know that our residents and businesses have selflessly prioritised the health and wellbeing of themselves, their families and friends and their wider communities.
“I know that this news will be met with understandable concern and frustration, but we must now ask for that same selfless resolve again so that we can come through this together.
“While the situation continues to be challenging, both in terms of public health and the economy, we can see a way forward and light is beginning to shine at the end of the tunnel.
“There are reasons for optimism. More is now known about Covid-19 than at the start of the pandemic and good progress continues to be made in terms of vaccine development and with respect to the use of therapeutics to aid in treatment.
“We need people to adapt and to remain resilient and positive, as they adjust and follow these new measures, so that we can avoid any further restrictions in the future.
“In the coming weeks, the council will refresh its online health and wellbeing offer to help residents during the winter and we will also continue to work with our partners and with businesses to keep offering controlled and safe spaces for people to enjoy and to keep the East Riding as a fantastic and safe place to live, work, shop, learn, play, invest and visit.
Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council and chair of the city’s Outbreak Management & Prevention Engagement Board, said: “I urge every person in the city to familiarise themselves with the new rules.
“Without significant action, rates in our city will continue to climb, putting all of us, our loved ones and particularly the more vulnerable members of our community at risk.
“We have seen in other areas, with rates higher than Hull, residents coming together and reversing the growing infection trend. We need to do this in Hull to support the NHS, our local hospitals and health workers.
“I know how hard our residents and businesses have worked for many months now and the sacrifices they have made to try to control this virus. The way we have come together as a community to protect each other has been incredible, and we need to continue to stick together.”