It is the right decision for the country to go into the third national lockdown. Our numbers here in Medway have continued to be very high with tragically more than 450 local residents passing away – our thoughts with friends and families of all those who have lost a loved one.
With the very high rates of transmission in Medway, the Medway Labour Group have been calling for a circuit break and a move to remote learning in schools since November. The Prime Minister recognised the point in his speech that we have been saying that schools are a vector for transmission of coronavirus.
It is essential that all pupils have access to good quality remote learning but we are aware that many families do not have good internet connections and may be worried about the costs of mobile phone data to access learning, we will work to find a solution that does not impoverish families even more. We must also see those children who would normally receive free school meals receiving support during the national lockdown. My thanks to all those across Medway’s schools for their ongoing outstanding efforts, it is truly appreciated.
We know as well our hospital continues to be under immense pressure, another reason why this national lockdown is the right decision. Our community values every single person working at Medway Maritime, recognising they are dealing with a situation right now they couldn’t possibly train for.
Of course, other health matters also continue to impact on individuals – if you have any health concerns please initially call 111 to get advice, guidance and support.
If you are invited to a symptom free test please attend and when you are invited to your vaccine please make sure you attend that too. Failure to turn up for a vaccine means it has to be discarded and can’t be used for someone else due to storage conditions.
If you are struggling with any aspect of shielding or self-isolating please call 03000419292 which covers both Medway and Kent.
There are a number of detailed questions which will still need to be answered and we will be raising those with senior council officers at our weekly briefing with them. If you have questions you want answering regarding the latest lockdown please contact your local Labour councillor so we can raise them directly.
It goes without saying that all those key workers who have done such a tremendous job throughout 2020 will no doubt continue to do so in this latest national lockdown. They have supported us throughout and we offer them all our support in the vital roles those women and men are carrying out to keep Medway going in these most challenging of times.
These next few weeks may be some of the most challenging as the third national lockdown impacts on all our lives. Whilst these measures are absolutely necessary, we must all be mindful of the effects these restrictions will have on the mental health of our community and support one another accordingly. Lockdown will affect everyone in different ways, so if you can, check in on those around you and look after your own mental health as much as possible.
I urge all Medway residents to follow the national lockdown rules – with the collective sacrifices we all make now means it will be more likely we can reduce our rates here in Medway, reduce the pressure on our hospital and ultimately mean we can return to the way of life we have all been missing so much.
Leader of the Medway Labour and Co-operative Group