Trying to get back to living our lives as a close as possible to normal while accepting that we will all be living alongside the cornonavirus for some time to come is a great frustration for everyone. It is frustrating for restaurants and other businesses trying to get back in the saddle, for children and young people trying to resume their education and local sports clubs, bands and choirs who have all seen their activities severely disrupted.
In common with other viruses like the flu virus, the transmission rate is clearly linked to seasonal factors. Southern Hemisphere countries like South Africa and Australia saw huge peaks during their winter in late July with the disease then tapering off. We managed to loosen the restrictions and measures over the summer but we are now seeing a growth in infection rates again. The government has been closely monitoring the position over the last four weeks. This week it became clear that we are on a similar trajectory to some other European countries like France. The infection rate is doubling roughly every 7-10 days. Also in common with other countries, the trend has tended to be that infection picks up first among young people aged between 18-22 before broadening out to other age groups.
We have learnt quite a lot about the virus over the last nine months so this week the Prime Minister outlined a tightening of some of the measures now in order to avoid another lockdown situation later. A stitch in time saves nine, as the saying goes, and the idea behind the announcements this week is that if we act now to dampen the spread, then we can keep schools open, allow pubs and restaurants to continue to trade and enable people to continue to work.
So to ensure all this can happen, the mandatory use of face masks is being extended to other settings, there is going to be a new 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants and a requirement for table service in those settings to avoid people mixing. There will also be more action to enforce some of the measures we have in place now. As time has gone on people’s willingness to abide by some of the restrictions has waned but as we head into winter, we do now need people to become more vigilant again. None of these decisions are easy and they will, of course, lead to new frustrations for many businesses but if we all take special care now, we are better placed to get through the winter.
My office in Camborne is still opening to assist people with problems in their lives but to reduce the risk of the virus we are encouraging people, wherever possible, to contact us by email or telephone. I am also doing regular telephone surgeries to discuss issues with local residents. If you have an issue that you would like to discuss with elf or the team that supports me then please call 01209 713355 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.