We wanted to avoid a second lockdown and did everything we could to try different approaches with regional and local measures to contour, the spread of the virus. However, in this country, as across much of Europe, the virus is accelerating. Crucially, although the prevalence in places like Cornwall has been lower than other parts of the country, the infection rate has been growing exponentially, with new cases doubling within just a week. The rate of growth in infections in Cornwall was one of the fastest in the country and the projections showed that left unchecked, Cornwall would be in a similar situation to some of the Northern cities by the end of the month.
In Cornwall, we also have an older population and because we are at the end of the line, it is harder to share resources around the NHS so the capacity to deal with a surge in demand is more limited. If we failed to take action, then there was a real risk of the NHS being overwhelmed and of depriving non-Covid patients of the care that they need from the NHS. As a result, the Prime Minister has announced that we will return to a full national lockdown from Thursday until December.
This lockdown will be similar to the first in many ways, however, schools will remain open. The impact of closing schools on the mental health of young people and on their education and life chances means that we should do all we can to ensure that schools can remain open. We tend to think about the impact of the virus on the older generation because they are more susceptible but the measures being taken to control it have an impact on younger people too. It is important that they have access to social contact to develop their confidence. The economic disruption caused by the last lockdown has affected many who started apprenticeships and left others more doubtful about their future careers. For all these reasons we need to try to keep schools open.
As of Thursday, 5th November, all pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés will have to close unless for takeaway service. Non-essential shops, leisure, gyms and entertainment venues will also close. In response to the further impact this will have on businesses and livelihoods, the government is extending the furlough scheme until December to protect jobs and there is a further tranche of crisis grants available to help smaller businesses with their fixed costs. However, there is no doubt that a second lockdown will have a cumulative impact on the financial stress facing some businesses.
During the last nine months, we have all looked out for each other and pulled together to support one another as a community. Our unique Cornish spirit has shone through, however, in the weeks ahead we all need to draw on this again and continue to support one another through these difficult times.
My office will still be working hard to support people through this period. I am doing regular telephone surgeries to discuss issues with local residents. If you have an issue that you would like to discuss with myself or the team that supports me then please call 01209 713355 or email email@example.com.