We MUST make this lockdown work

If we all work together as one community to minimise the opportunity for the virus to spread from person to person we can end the pandemic within months. So follow the rules and keep safe for just a few more months

I took my exercise yesterday, as I did in the first lockdown, walking around my Church Ward. I was surprised at how unlike the first lockdown it was. Allerton Road felt quieter than normal but much more business like than the first lockdown. Outside the school opening and closing hours traffic only seemed marginally down on normal.

Only when I had to pop into the City council to pick up something from the Council did I feel that things were anything but normal.

There are some good reasons for this new ‘normality’. Businesses and residents have found out how to cope during a pandemic from their practice in the first and less so, the second lockdown.

There has been little stock piling of essentials as we know that the products we need will still be available to us. Our continued obsession with loo rolls seems to continue though. The banks are open almost normal hours. The small shops have been equipped with screens and sanitizer and can safely trade if their service is permitted. The restaurants who had to learn how to become take-aways have quickly sorted themselves back into the takeaway routine. All this means that there are no lengthy queues as in the first lockdown.

However, when I went into a shop, having put my mask on, two of the customers had no mask on. They may have a medical exemption but they seemed a robust couple of people having a good natter within a metre of each other. I left the shop and returned after they had left.

A small number of people clearly have no idea just how dangerous the virus is. Currently 2% of the population of the UK have the virus active within them. Every single one of those can pass that virus on. Some of those do not know that they have the virus. We know that infections lead to illness; that a proportion of those ill lead to a serious illness and a proportion of those will die.

It’s not just a problem for the elderly. Approximately 40% of the infections are in people under 25. They probably won’t die but that does not mean they will not be affected. Some of them will have long-Covid which keeps them weak and debilitated for months. Others will not know that they have a health problem for 10 years when they find that their body has been weakened today.

In the meantime, our beloved NHS is being overrun. Doctors, nurses and ancillary staff have been on the front line since last February with only brief respite. Our Intensive Care units are being overrun. We are running out of oxygen and beds. The consequences to our caring staff both in the NHS and care homes will be with them for a long time with mental problems following up the

There is light at the end of the tunnel but that tunnel is a very long one! The second vaccine starts to eb rolled out today although, given the appalling way track and trace ahs been handled, I have no hope that the roll out will go smoothly.

I suspect that there are two reasons that some people are choosing to interpret the rules to suit their own desires.

Firstly, we are all sick of it and desperately want to have life as normal. We want to meet, socialise and not bother about bubbles. We want to keep our businesses going again properly, to develop our careers, to get to school and pass our exams. We want to both watch and take part in sport. There is a yearning for us to be able to behave as part of society.

Secondly, people just don’t trust the Government. It’s not just the Cummings affair. Polling has shown that there was a Cummings effect based on the principle, “If he can do it why can’t the rest of us?” It is more that Buffoon Boris and his team of intellectual pygmies continually over promise and under deliver. Remember the world class App; the world class track and trace; the 100,000 tests a day before then of April. None of these targets have been met. The UK has a worse record than most of Europe. This is a scandal when we have the 5th biggest economy.

The sooner that we get the virus sorted by vaccination the sooner we can start doing all these things that we so love doing. Let’s be frank though. It’s a race between the vaccine and the virus and currently the virus is winning. We can all play our part in ensuring that the virus doesn’t win. The solutions are incredibly simple:

Only go out if you need to. Yes, if you can get out for a good walk around the park etc its good for your mental and physical help.

If you have a job where you can work from home do so. If your employer is reluctant to allow you to do this remember that the recommendations of Monday became law yesterday. If you have concerns report your employer to the public health team at the Council.

If you have a frontline job which means that you cannot work from home keep to the recommendations of the Government. Keep your face covered; use sanitizer regularly; maximise the space between you and co-workers.

Don’t go into other people’s homes except for the permitted reasons of providing child care or assistance to someone who is ill.

If you are on the official shielding list stay at home. If you need help with shopping or getting in vital supplies there are many organisations and individuals who will help you.

One of the organisations that can help is the Liberal Democrats. We have seriously curtailed our activities and will be doing nothing which involves meeting people for any purpose until medical advice changes. That does NOT mean that we are not around to help. To contact your councillors or our activists in your ward check out our details on our website www.liverlibdems.org.uk.

The most optimistic estimate is that it will be mid-March before the vaccination roll out has hit a high proportion of people most likely to be affected and the lockdown has seriously eroded the high infection rates.

This is not the right note that we all wanted to start 2021 on after a dreadful 2020. It is, however, the only note that we can play. Stay in, stay safe, keep your distance, wash your hands and most of us in April will be able to see the light at the end of that tunnel and hope for a better life.

And one last thing. The Clap for our heroes starts again tonight. The people in the NHS, the people in our care homes, the people who keep our food supplies going; the people who empty our bins; the Police who watch over us and the delivery drivers who bring stuff to our doors. I’ll be clapping for them at 7pm every Thursday. I hope that you will to.

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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