The news of tier 4 at the weekend is not what any of us wanted to hear. However, in response to a rapidly worsening situation action had to be taken. Kent appears to be the home of the new strain of the virus. While in July there were already 12,000 mutant strains of the virus known to scientists, this particular strain now accounts for a majority of the spread in our region. It is not thought to be more harmful, and it is thought the vaccines will still be effective. However, there remains a lot we don’t know about it and therefore precautions must be put in place.
For me, my priorities in the short term are clear:
Ensure the delivery of mass testing, and that the vaccine is available across the Sevenoaks district as soon as possible for residents, and NHS and care home staff. I have been in conversations with local hospitals and GP surgeries, the Department of Health and the Vaccines Minister over the last week. And, hope to have an update for you very soon.
Secure additional financial support for business. I have been calling for additional support for the hospitality sector since the tier 3 restrictions came into place, and now it is clear that more also needs to be done to support those businesses who have to close under the tier 4 guidance – including non-essential retail, leisure and personal care. I am in conversations with the Treasury and will continue to make the case so local businesses can access the help they need.
I will post updates on the latest data regularly on Facebook over the Christmas period so you can see how the situation is changing in our area.
This is not going to be the Christmas we all hoped for, but I hope you and your family stay safe. If anyone has questions or would like help or support, please do not hesitate to contact myself and the team on firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to 2021, and hope it brings brighter times.
MP for Sevenoaks and Swanley