The plunge into renewed lockdown due to the vicious new strain of Coronavirus is an undeniably grim start to the New Year. My sympathy and thoughts are with all households directly impacted, and as a parent of young children with elderly parents living close to York, I know how much of a burden the restriction of normal life has been even to families that have escaped direct personal loss.
The virus resurgence nevertheless continues to bring out the best in our local community, from the tireless NHS, care and key workers to the many good neighbours who have looked out for more vulnerable residents.
However, unlike last spring, a clear route back to normality is in sight, with lockdown now accompanied by the rollout of vaccines. The third (Moderna) vaccine was approved earlier this month, and York’s immunisation programme is in full swing, rightly prioritising the most at-risk, and health and care workers. Our country has moved speedily, already vaccinating more people than the rest of Europe combined, and this and the wonderful development of the British Oxford vaccine should give us confidence in relation to challenges like Brexit that we can excel when we have the freedom to do things differently.
My focus is now on pressing the government to move safely but determinedly back towards normal, with steady progress on vaccinating sufficient vulnerable people unlocking a phased relaxation of restrictions as immunity widens. This is fundamentally the only way our city can return to normal trading conditions, essential for the preservation of our community’s prosperity and high quality of life. Regaining normal social and economic life is vital for the health and general welfare of York, and for the prospects of our young people, who have been so cruelly impacted by the pandemic. The vaccine rollout makes this possible.
- “Vaccine Rollout Gives Hope for 2021,” Julian Sturdy, MP - January 25, 2021