Reactions to the new lockdown announcement

Mason Moore | Hinckley Reporter | 5 January 2021

JUST a day ago, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced at 8pm in the evening that that primary schools, secondary schools, and Colleges shall learn virtually from today (5 January) and will then be further fully ‘locked down’ by 12.01am in the morning the day after on Wednesday (6 January).

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The Prime Minister’s announcement explained that England would be placed under the lockdown until around mid-February, and even sees very similar rules put into place to the first time we entered a national English lockdown back in March 2020.

The full set of new rules that have been put in place can be viewed here.

Readers and local politicians shared their opinions with The Hinckley Free Press on the newly-announced lockdown restrictions that will be put in place in a bid to tackle the coronavirus from spreading.

Readers react

Hinckley resident, Ben Bruce, said: “It is the right decision to hopefully stop us going the way of other areas, but once again handled in a shambolic manner by this sham of a government.”

Elmesthorpe resident, Stewart Bint, said: “I believe that unfortunately, it’s necessary. If people had abided by the earlier regulations, today’s measures may not have been so severe.

“Schools have to be shut because, while children aren’t generally at risk, they can easily pass COVID on to parents and grandparents.”

Barwell Liberal Democrat Councillor comments

Mathew Hulbert, a Liberal Democrat representative for Barwell Parish Council, said: “This lockdown is clearly needed, with the number of cases rising in many parts of the country at a shocking rate.

“But this government consistently seems to wait until the very last moment to take the action others have seen for some time needs to happen.

“For example, it was clear schools shouldn’t have returned on Monday, apart from for vulnerable children and those of key workers, yet this Prime Minister and Education Secretary were insistent in the morning that schools were safe and in the evening of the same day that they needed to close.

“How are parents, head teachers and others supposed to plan? Now that it’s clear most children will be being home schooled, this administration needs to ensure that it delivers on its pledge to provide laptops for those children without them and there’s sufficient Internet connection and data to enable them to be used.

“The digital divide is real and children from less well-off families have just as much right to the best possible education in the circumstances as those who are more fortunate.

“Inequalities more generally are also being highlighted by this pandemic, so I again call on Ministers to enact Universal Basic Income pilots and, if successful, to roll UBI out nationwide.

“Everyone, whatever their background or present circumstance, deserves to live with dignity and a sufficient level of financial security.

“I know that, for people in our Borough and beyond, to be back in a full lockdown is frustrating. “But we all need to keep doing our bit, keep playing by the rules, and hope that the vaccine is rolled out in a timely manner.

“I thank all those in our community who, in a COVID safe way, are looking out for their friends and neighbours.

“We will get through this and, some day in the not too distant future, meet again.”

Bosworth MP comments

Dr. Luke Evans, Hinckley and Bosworth’s Conservative Member of Parliament, said: “The science tells us that we are faced with a virus that has mutated.

“Unfortunately for us the mutation passes amongst us around 50 to 70 per cent easier than the initial strain did.

“This means that the previous measures no longer hold the virus back, so we must step up the measures in place to protect ourselves from the virus.

“We know that annually our NHS faces more demand in the winter than at other times of the year, this year we know that unless action is taken now our health service will not cope.

“The definition is clear unless we take action ‘there is a material risk that the NHS will be overwhelmed’.

“We must act now and we must follow the lockdown as strictly as possible, there aren’t many more restrictions that can be put in place.

“In other words, you must stay at home unless there is an essential reason to leave it. This isn’t a time for Covid-deniers and anti-vaxxers.

“As a member of the Health Select Committee and a Doctor, I’m lucky to receive daily updates and regular access to ministers and I understand the pressures that we face if action isn’t taken. That’s why I’m so adamant about the stay at home message.

“I’m pleased that the Treasury have already announced grants for businesses forced to close, but I will continue to press for more support to ensure every viable business can get through this difficult time.

“It’s a truism that the darkest hour comes before the dawn and even with this grim news we can’t forget that dawn will be with us soon.

“The good news is that over 1 million doses of vaccine have already been administered, more then all of Europe combined; there are 730 sites across the UK administering the vaccine and Leicestershire is right at the forefront of that coverage.

“It may seem grim right now, but the science says we have real reasons to be optimistic, by working together now we have real hope for a bright 2021.”

Bosworth’s Labour Candidate comments

Hinckley and Bosworth’s Parliamentary Candidate for the Labour Party, Rick Middleton, said: “Whilst the third lockdown is necessary to combat a level in rising cases, it is devastating for many local businesses across Hinckley and Bosworth, who since the summer, have been given mixed signals from the government on when they can expect to return to some kind of normal.

“My thoughts are with those struggling at the moment, those with financial difficulties and those that suffer through anxiety and mental health problems.

“Whilst I support the government’s decision, the timing of the announcement at 8pm on Monday caused chaos for parents of children who were expected to be in school the following day and did not give enough time for teachers to make provision for remote learning.

“Many schools had worked on the basis that kids would be back this week with staff working hard to create an environment as safe as possible for their return.

“Parents were told only on Sunday by the prime minister that schools were safe to return to. But, whatever criticisms we may have of how the government have handled this pandemic, we must all work together, follow the rules and stay at home whenever possible to save lives.

“There is a light at the end of the tunnel with the start of the roll-out of the vaccine. The coming months will be very challenging for many but it’s only a matter of time until we can get back to normal life.”

Hinckley’s Liberal Democrat Councillor comments

Michael Mullaney, a Liberal Democrat Councillor for Hinckley, said: “I hope everyone locally stays safe during this difficult time.

“We can only hope that the lockdown achieves the aim of reducing rates nationally as quickly as possible.

“As well as the health worries associated with COVID-19, there are also the financial worries that many people are sadly facing too.

“It’s urgent that the government sets out an economic plan to ensure support continues for those who are unable to work, in particular the three million self-employed and others who have been excluded from government support schemes in the past.

“This includes thousands of people here in Hinckley and Bosworth who desperately need reassurance from government that they will be getting support.

“More support is needed for the many people with caring responsibilities both financial and in terms of access to support for mental well/being with the pandemic particularly taking its toll on them.”

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