Andrew Jones MP said:
We have come so far so carefully so patiently but even so it is difficult to feel anything other than disappointment at the news that the current restrictions – with some exceptions – are to continue for another five weeks. Already our towns look unrecognisable compared to how they were in January. People are in our shops, our bars and our restaurants. Hairdressers, beauticians and many other businesses are open that were closed back then.
In the face of a new variant, unknown when the roadmap was set out, which is 60 per cent more infectious it is a remarkable achievement. And it is our pharmaceutical companies, our NHS and people turning up in huge numbers for vaccinations that have got us here.
But it has always been a race between the vaccine and the virus. It’s a race we are winning but the new variant means measures that gives us the edge on the virus need to continue. If they don’t it’s a race we could lose with the disease putting people into hospitals, killing thousands more before the vaccine has a chance to protect them and forcing us into another lockdown.
A delay, with daily reviews as new data is analysed, is a regrettable but sensible, pragmatic response to the surge in new variant cases.