New national lockdown announced as Basingstoke Hospital admissions for C19 increase significantly.
The Prime Minister has announced a third national lockdown calling on everyone to “stay at home” as the new variant of Covid19 increases rates of infection particularly in the South East. The new variant infects people even more easily, it is up to 70% more transmissible. In Basingstoke we have seen infection rates double in the past week and Hospital admissions for C19 heading towards the levels we saw in the Spring. From today school pupils will be taught in virtual lessons at home. Schools will remain open for children of frontline workers and those who are vulnerable. The UK’s Chief Medical Officer has advised that the country should move to alert level 5 meaning that if action is not taken NHS capacity could be overwhelmed within 21 days. It’s clear these new measures are essential.
Local MP Maria Miller said, “It’s really difficult for everyone to go into a third lock down but now more than ever, we must pull together following the new rules, particularly given the significantly increased number who need acute care in our local Hospital. These new restrictions will be reviewed on 15th February.
“The message is very clear, stay at home unless you have very specific reasons to leave such as to get food, medical treatment, exercise, or you cannot do your job from home.
“This lockdown comes as the national Covid19 vaccine programme continues to roll out. In Hampshire more than 30 000 people at the highest risk have already been vaccinated and this week our Hospital Staff start to be vaccinated as well. The vaccination programme is good news but we shan’t start to see the benefits until large numbers of people have been vaccinated. As things stand it is estimated that the key groups will be vaccinated by mid February.
“Its all our responsibilities to stay at home to cut rates of transmission helping our local NHS to cope with this difficult and fast moving situation.”
This morning, the Chancellor has also announced £4.6 billion in new lockdown grants to support business and protect jobs as the nation stays at home to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. This new introduction of one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will help many hundreds of local Basingstoke businesses, as they are able to apply for grants worth up to £9,000 on a per-property basis. A further £594 million is also being made available for Local Authorities and the Devolved Administrations to support other businesses not eligible for these grants, but may still be affected by these new restrictions.
Local MP Maria Miller said in support of this announcement, “Throughout the pandemic extra support has been put in place to protect jobs and livelihoods. This additional support will help businesses see out these latest restrictions and prepare for a time when they can reopen their doors for business, helping to ensure the jobs and livelihoods they provide are protected.”