Tier 3 was ‘inevitable’ for Devon say MPs and health chiefs

And:

Cllr Paul Arnott, Leader of East Devon District Council, said: “The threat from the new and more transmittable strain of the virus is extremely serious and the people of East Devon must do all they can to protect the health of both themselves and others.

“I wish everyone a happy new year and urge you to celebrate safely from your own home and respect at all times the increased safety obligations of Tier 3.”

Daniel Clark www.devonlive.com 

Devon’s move into Tier 3 restrictions has left MPs disappointed, but they felt it was inevitable.

The government has reviewed the tier restrictions, and Devon is to move up to Tier 3 from Thursday, December 31.

The rules means that you must not meet socially indoors with anybody who you do not live with, or you are not in a support bubble with and you must not meet socially outdoors (in a private garden or at most outdoor public venues) with anybody who you do not live with, or you are not in a support bubble with*.

Hospitality settings, such as bars, pubs, cafes, restaurants and social clubs must close except for takeaway, delivery and click and collect services. Food or drink bought via these must not be consumed on the premises including beer gardens.

Hotels, B&Bs, campsites, holiday lets and guest houses, must close, except for those travelling for work, while most tourist venues and entertainment must close, but some outdoor venues are permitted to remain open.

Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon (Designate) said: “Cases in Devon, while we have been in Tier 2, have been rising in all age groups, as per the national trend. Without further intervention with tighter restrictions, we are likely to have seen cases continuing to rise and therefore I feel this announcement was inevitable.

“The decision has been made to place us into Tier 3 and what is important now is we do everything we can to adhere to these tighter restrictions to help bring down cases in Devon

“We will have heard the welcome news today that a second vaccine has been approved for use from early January, but we cannot sit back and relax on the strength of that. Please keep up the effort, and remember the key messages, to social distance, wear your face coverings when in a public space where social distancing is not possible, and wash your hands properly and regularly.”

Anne Marie Morris, MP for Newton Abbot, said: “It is unsurprising that Devon has been placed in Tier 3, given the rising rates across the county & country. January is traditionally the busiest month of the year for the NHS and I would urge people to continue following the rules, in order to reduce the spread of this terrible disease and protect the most vulnerable in society. Alongside colleagues, I continue to call on the Government to publish data on the impact this pandemic is having on non-Covid health conditions.”

Ben Bradshaw MP for Exeter said: “This is clearly disappointing, as our figures are still among the lowest in the country, but I suppose the dire and deteriorating situation elsewhere & the huge pressure on the NHS made it inevitable. We are now paying the price of locking down too late in October, coming out of that lockdown too early & the chaos & confusion over Christmas. I fear we could see another national lockdown before the benefits of the vaccination programme begun to be felt.”

Simon Jupp, MP for East Devon, said; “Devon will move into Tier 3 tomorrow. Case numbers continue to rise across the county and our NHS remains under strain. There is hope and optimism following independent approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine which will be rolled-out from next week. This is very welcome news, but we can’t let our guard down.”

Kevin Foster, MP for Torbay, said: “Whilst infection rates in our bay are still relatively low, they are steadily rising, and we cannot ignore the situation in the rest of Devon and the UK as a whole, especially relating to the new strain.

“I appreciate the hard work many in our tourism and hospitality industry have put in over the last month to keep our community safe whilst they were still trading, yet if South Devon were an island of Tier 2, with surrounding areas in Tier 3 and nearby Somerset in Tier 4, it is sadly all too predictable we could see activities and people gyrate towards our bay, potentially bringing the virus with them.

“It is therefore right we move into Tier 3, along with the rest of Devon and Cornwall, at this stage. Yet with the vaccination programme now set to step up massively, we can look forward to the Summer Season with confidence.”

Clodagh Murphy, Chairman of Exeter Chamber, said: “Exeter Chamber understands the need to take tough measures against this rapidly spreading new strain of Coronavirus to protect the NHS and our communities, but this must not be at the expense of further damage to our economy.

“With hospitality businesses already reporting an 80 per cent reduction in takings over the Christmas / New Year period, and now facing closure once again, we urgently call for emergency measures to support those businesses that are most affected by these new restrictions. These include, but not limited to, the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors which are vital to both Devon and the wider Westcountry’s economic success.

“We want thank all of our local businesses and hospitality for all their hard work over the last nine months as we have tackled the changing landscape of this pandemic. These businesses are the lifeblood of the Devon economy and they have been tremendous.

“The rollout of the vaccine programme, and the approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, gives us all hope of a return to something approaching normality later in 2021. However, in the meantime, we must not allow businesses to fail due to lack of Government support in these final months, so that they are able to come back in the spring/summer and continue to help the region’s economy prosper and grow.”

Anthony Mangnall, MP for Totnes, said: “I have been a firm believer that an end to lockdown is very necessary but we also have to take into account that the numbers are increasing in the South West, along with the rest of the country. I do support the Government in the action today, but important that we have a second vaccine coming online and that will be a lot quicker to rollout.

“We are nearing the light at the end of the tunnel and hoping we can get it to those in most need of it. I understand the frustration – we are at the last moment and the light is almost darkest before the dawn – and we are like a marathon runner on the last mile and we have to focus on the rollout of the vaccine and getting life back to normal, but we have to do it without jeopardising the NHS and the capacity that goes with it.”

But the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use in the UK, with the first doses due to be given on Monday.

On the approval of the Oxford vaccine, Ms Morris said: “It is fantastic news that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use by the MHRA. This is a game changer and will enable the NHS to significantly increase vaccination capacity, especially in harder to reach places such as rural care homes. The sooner we can roll out the vaccine, the sooner we can begin to head back to ‘normality’.”

Kevin Foster, MP for Torbay, said: “This is a triumph for British Science and a leap forward in our fight against Covid-19 both in the UK and globally, given it can be distributed via existing vaccination routes due to it being able to be stored in a fridge. I know plans for using it are already well advanced in our bay, including ensuring it reaches the most vulnerable living in care homes.”

“Whilst there will still be some difficult days ahead, the Oxford Vaccine holds out the hope of a more normal summer season for our bay and its tourism industry, but for now we cannot let our guard down.”

Sir Gary Streeter, MP for South West Devon said: “”The approval of the Oxford vaccine is wonderful news. I hope we can vaccinate around two million per week starting almost immediately and also people in care homes.”

MP for Exeter, Ben Bradshaw, said: “It’s great news that the Oxford vaccine has been approved, as this is the one that most of us will get, as it is easier to deploy. The Goverment must now ensure that the NHS has the resources and staff to administer the vaccines round the clock so we can get on top of this pandemic as soon as possible.

“I also agree with those who argue that administering one dose to as many people as possible as quickly as possible would be better than two doses to fewer people, as all the vaccines provide a very good level of protection at one dose and doing that is likely to get us out of this crisis sooner.”

Cllr Paul Arnott, Leader of East Devon District Council, said: “The threat from the new and more transmittable strain of the virus is extremely serious and the people of East Devon must do all they can to protect the health of both themselves and others.

“I wish everyone a happy new year and urge you to celebrate safely from your own home and respect at all times the increased safety obligations of Tier 3.”

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