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05 November 2020

Statement from Cllr Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council as second national lockdown begins

Today the country starts the second period of national lockdown.

In Cumbria the infection rate has, in the main, stayed below our regional neighbours. But it has been rising everywhere, with Barrow and Carlisle causing particular concern. Along with those rises we have seen hospital beds filling up with people who are seriously ill, and sadly, further deaths.

None of us wants another lockdown but without it our hospitals risk being overwhelmed this winter - with devastating consequences not just for people with COVID-19 but for everyone who needs and relies on NHS services.

That is why it is so important that everyone takes heed and follows the new restrictions.

It is crucial however that this lockdown period is used to improve the national response to managing COVID-19, in particular ensuring a fully functional and effective test and trace system.

That way, we give ourselves the best chance of coming out of lockdown on December 2nd and being able to celebrate Christmas with family and friends.

But without it, we face the prospect of infections rising again, further rolling-lockdowns and more damage to jobs and to our economy, as well as to people’s mental health and well-being. That is unsustainable.

That is why we have been urging the Government to work with us as genuine local partners in order to achieve that, and I repeat that call today.

Looking forward, whatever happens we know that this winter will be difficult for a range of reasons and I want to thank all of those individuals, whether they be on the front line of the NHS and Social Care,  or providing vital services - emptying our bins, working in our supermarkets, or keeping our public transport going - all of those working in the public, private and voluntary sectors, who are committed to maintaining vital services for those who need  and rely on them. Thank you for everything you are doing.

And I would like to say to those facing the next four weeks with trepidation and anxiety: those who have lost loved ones and are coming to terms with their grief; those who are worried about how they are going to cope; you are not alone. There is a network of support right across the County, with Councils, other agencies and an army of volunteers, many of them on this call, standing ready to help. We will get through this by working together and supporting each other. It’s the Cumbrian way.

Today the country starts the second period of national lockdown.