East Devon: Mixed views on July 19 lifting of Covid restrictions

If only Boris hadn’t dithered on imposing the first lockdown in March 2020. Remember the Cheltenham Festival…..

If only Boris hadn’t overruled scientific advice for a circuit breaker in September 2020. Remember the “Eat out to help out” August accelerator……

If only Boris hadn’t dithered on imposing the second lockdown until November 2020…..

If only Boris hadn’t let the cork out of the bottle over Christmas 2020. Remember the Alpha variant had started spreading in mid-December…..

If only Boris hadn’t dithered for 17 days before imposing travel ban from those travelling from India in May 2021. The Delta variant became the dominant strain in the UK around mid-May…..

Infection prevalence and incidence would be much lower, and we would be in a better position to open up the economy safely than we are right now.

With a history of being too slow to lockdown; too hasty to open up, why is Simon Jupp so convinced Boris has got it right this time? – Owl

Philippa Davies sidmouth.nub.news

Simon Jupp, East Devon MP; Paul Arnott district council leader; Steve Brown, director of public health, Devon

Simon Jupp, East Devon MP; Paul Arnott district council leader; Steve Brown, director of public health, Devon

East Devon MP Simon Jupp has backed the government’s plans to go ahead with the full easing of Covid restrictions set for July 19, despite rising numbers of cases in the constituency.

But the leader of East Devon District Council, Paul Arnott, has warned that it could be ‘an unwelcome infection accelerator’ that is being introduced too soon.

And Devon’s director of public health, Steve Brown, is urging people to remain cautious, and heed the Government’s guidelines on continuing to wear face coverings in some places.

In the seven days to 7 July, cases in East Devon rose by 64 per cent, climbing from 108 to 277. There are now more than 189 cases per 100,000 of the population.

Mr Simon Jupp said: “Cases here are still lower than the average for the UK. I don’t see any reason not to open up, as long as people follow personal and social responsibility and look after themselves.

“That involves getting the vaccine when it’s their turn, including the second dose and, also, if they choose to, wearing face coverings if applicable.”

“That’s what I’ll be doing. I’ll be taking it on a step-by -step, case-by-case basis to decide whether I want to wear a face mask in a certain scenario.”

“I think moving from mandated state intervention to a more personal responsibility – it’s your choice but you’ve got to be mindful of those around you – is exactly the right way to go.”

“I’m happy for the unlocking to take place next week. I don’t think we can call it “freedom day”, I don’t think that’s helpful as a narrative, but I do think that overall it’s a good thing for our area.”

“At some point, we have to open up. At some point, we have to have some semblance of normality.”

Mr Jupp praised the vaccine rollout locally and nationally and emphasised the importance of opening up fully for the economy.

He said: “We could be cautious forever about new variants that come forward and I don’t think our economy could stand it.”

District council leader urges ‘good sense and consideration’

However, the leader of East Devon District Council Paul Arnott (Democratic Alliance, and leader of the East Devon Alliance) is concerned about full reopening.

He said: “July 19 is destined to be an unwelcome infection accelerator unless people have the good sense and consideration for others to continue to wear masks and maintain social distancing, as at present.

“In my view, with so many local people still at only a single jab [stage], this has come two months too soon and looks like a bid for ‘herd-immunity.’

“I suspect Devonians have more common sense than this and will continue to lead productive lives while continuing to exercise great caution.’

Director of public health: ‘We must continue to stop the spread’

Steve Brown, director of Public Health Devon, has urged people to remain cautious. He said: “There’s no question about us sitting back and doing nothing.”

“We need to take personal responsibility, remain cautious, and continue with the efforts we have made so far in helping to stop the spread.”

“I am pleased to hear clarification from our prime minister that the wearing of face coverings in crowded places – which would include public transport and any indoor space where there are other people – is still recommended, despite it no longer being a legal requirement.”