Today’s announcement will see all of East Sussex move to Tier 4 from Boxing Day. Parts of the constituency have already been at this level since Saturday. This will now unite the county under one set of restrictions. This is going to be a very different and difficult Christmas and New Year. I am incredibly sorry for those who will not get to see loved ones and for businesses who will be impacted.
I spoke to Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health, earlier today by phone to discuss the local picture. The new COVID strain has impacted our local rates in a dramatic manner.
Unlike before, the vaccine is now in play. Compared to the previous 6 months, our local hospital operational capacity is extremely tight as we move to the annual January NHS spike. Our local COVID rates have increased at a scale not seen since the first lockdown. There is now a new variant in play and it appears to cause a faster spread. I’ve always weighed up whether restrictions are proportionate. I’ve not previously been convinced. This time, I believe the risk and reward justifies the ask of us all. It would be a huge shame to spend the year fighting this off only for it to overwhelm us at the final stage. I acknowledge the impact and the frustration; I share it as well from Tier 4. I’d urge everyone to take care, stay positive and look forward to a better year to come.