Don’t relax restrictions while Covid numbers rise, says Suffolk MP Dan Poulter
PUBLISHED: 16:30 14 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:41 14 October 2020
Now is not the time to relax Covid-19 restrictions - that is the message from Suffolk MP Dr Dan Poulter, as he supported a new three-tier system to cut transmission of the virus.
The government won a parliamentary vote on the new measures conclusively, after Labour decided not to oppose it.
However, 42 MPs - including Ipswich’s Tom Hunt and Clacton’s Giles Watling - backed an amendment which would have seen the 10pm curfew for pubs scrapped.
Dr Poulter said his experience of working as an NHS doctor in a London hospital during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the spring convinced him that restrictions should not be relaxed at present – including the 10pm curfew.
He said: “We are seeing hospital infections rise, they are at the level they were at the start of the lockdown, and there is no sign of them coming down any time soon.
“This is not the time to be relaxing. We can’t say that some people who are old or vulnerable have to be ignored because of the economy.”
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He was not in favour of a national lockdown at present, saying: “At present, the levels in Suffolk are still relatively low – and it is right to see if the measures we currently have can keep them that way, but if they do rise then we would expect to move to another tier.”
Dr Poulter pointed out that the infection rates currently being recorded in parts of Suffolk were similar to those that had caused concern in other parts of the country in the middle of September – and in some of those places there had been very significant rises since then.
He said: “We cannot be complacent. We have to stay on top of Covid, which is why I’m backing the government on this.”
Last week, Mr Hunt said he would be voting against the 10pm curfew because it had a serious impact on the employment of young people in his constituency.
He said that pubs and bars he had visited in the town had taken very good precautions to ensure that customers observed social distancing rules – and that they obeyed track and trace rules to ensure contacts could be tracked down if necessary.
Mr Watling said: “I voted against the 10pm curfew because it’s daft.
“People will still be drinking, except they’ll be drinking heavily until 10pm and then all rolling out of the pubs at the same time.
“I understand things have to be done – but this is not going to work.”
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