ANDY Winter is Chief Executive of the Brighton Housing Trust. It runs an advice centre in Eastbourne.

ONE of the things that has characterised the ten months of the Covid-19 pandemic is that measures taken by government have often been too little and too late.

Over optimistic forecasts have eroded confidence in the pronouncements from government, and what most people have seen as inevitable has been resisted by Ministers resulting in eleventh hour U-turns.

This morning the Prime Minster, speaking on the Andrew Marr programme said that rules are “probably about to get tougher” to curb rising Covid infections and that schools may have to be closed. Fortunately there was less baseless optimism from Boris Johnson, and no ridiculous hyperbole which has undermined his authority and his office.

Of course they are. It is nothing more than negligent to delay bringing in tighter measures and closing schools for even a day. Infection rates are soaring, hospitals are already overwhelmed, track and trace is still not working properly, and the vaccines have limited effectiveness. The new variant has posed new challenges, and nobody can rule out further variants.

Of course, Prime Minister, nobody wants any further restrictions, and nobody wants schools closed, but there is no alternative. As has been said throughout the pandemic, we either do it now or, if we delay, we will need to do it for longer and with even greater restrictions. Meanwhile more people will get infected and more people will die than might otherwise happen.

We need decisive action from government now, a more robust national lockdown, and for longer. And we need to plan the recovery – financial, social, educational, and mental well-being.