By Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell
I was very pleased to hear the Prime Minister announce the Living with Covid strategy the Government will pursue now we have the virus under some control.
For a coastal community like ours, so dependent on tourism and hospitality and so affected by lockdowns and restrictions to our lives, this was indeed good news.
I think it’s time to get back on the path to normality, power up the economy to its full potential, especially for our summer season, but importantly continue to protect the vulnerable.
I know some people think this announcement is premature and I understand the concern. This has been a bruising two years, a scary time for many and a tragedy for those who have lost loved ones to this disease. But there are many challenges we face arising from Covid that we need to deal with urgently. These include the cost of living and the backlog in the NHS.
We also need to pay for the unprecedented support to businesses and jobs over the last two years. A fully open economy free of restrictions will do much to help on all these fronts.
We have infections falling rapidly and fewer and fewer succumbing to serious illness and death from the virus. We are underpinned by vaccines and much better treatments. This is the time to move on. And if not now, when?
It’s really important to add that the Government most certainly has not forgotten the vulnerable. An important part of the strategy is the over-75s and people with suppressed immune systems will be offered Covid-19 spring booster jab in the weeks to come.
Of course, surrounding the strategy is the reality that we cannot be complacent about the virus. We need to be vigilant about new variants, we need to refine our treatments and vaccines.
Day-to-day, I think people in Eastbourne and Willingdon will do all they can to limit infections and keep everyone safe. The guidance will continue to be that if you have Covid you should stay at home. I suspect people will wear masks when they feel it is appropriate to do so.