Your verdict on second coronavirus lockdown for Norfolk
Readers have given their verdict on whether Norfolk should be included in a second coronavirus lockdown, as the government refuses to rule one out.
With cases low in Norfolk - and the county recently removed from the government’s coronavirus watchlist - this newspaper has been pushing for alternatives to such action when it comes to this county.
MPs and business leaders have warned that a second national lockdown would be disastrous and people in Norfolk have been reacting to our plea for a blanket lockdown to be resisted if possible.
But health secretary Matt Hancock has refused to rule that out, saying that the country faces a “tipping point”, with hospital admissions for the disease doubling “every eight days”.
He said that would be followed by an increase in the number of deaths and told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show: “This country faces a tipping point.
“If everybody follows the rules - and we will be increasingly stringent on the people who are not following the rules - then we can avoid further national lockdowns.
“But we of course have to be prepared to take action if that’s what’s necessary.”
Apart from in Great Yarmouth, where there were 15 cases per 100,000 people between September 9 and September 15, every other district council area in Norfolk has had fewer than 10 cases per 100,000 during that period.
And people commenting on our story urging that Norfolk be spared lockdown if possible, highlighted that, since the Banham Poultry outbreak was brought under control, cases have been low.
Steph Bowles said: “I don’t think they should put areas in lockdown that have a reduced amount of cases. We had a spike, but that was only because of the Banham factory. All of Norfolk has now been removed from the watchlist.”
Daniel Clarke said: “We have among the lowest figures in the county, so there’d be no need to lock us down again anyway.”
Jamie Watts, in a reference to the difficulties people have had in securing Covid-19 tests, said: “There’s no rise in infections in Norfolk because you can’t get tested.” Others were more accepting of a second lockdown. Sharon Chamberlain said: “I agree to a lockdown again, My son is a paramedic and sees what Covid-19 does.
“And a lot of people moan about it, just accept what’s happening and get on with it. I would rather live to see my grandson, than die because people are selfish. So get on with it and stop moaning.”
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Kayleigh Watson said: “If it needs to happen then it will happen. So many schools are seeing positive tests coming back with their pupils and teachers. And cases are on the rise. Yes, it will suck and be difficult, but don’t we possibly want our lives back by next year?”
Others highlighted how people need to take more responsibility for their own behaviour to negate the need for a further lockdown.
Victoria Hurrell said: “Come on, if people just followed the rules we wouldn’t be heading towards such drastic measures. We need to social distance but people of all ages can’t seem to get to grips with that.”
And Angela Monaghan said: “When will people realise its not the government punishing people they are doing it to them selves by not following rules and guidelines.”
Prime minister Boris Johnson has announced that the government had decided to impose a legal duty on people to self-isolate if instructed - or risk fines.
From September 28, anyone who refuses an order to self-isolate could face a fine of up to £10,000.
At the same time ministers have said people on benefits in England will be eligible for a one off support payment of £500 if they face a loss of earnings as a result of being required to self-isolate.
But Professor Carl Heneghan, director of Oxford University’s centre for evidence-based medicine, said the country “can’t afford to go now with harsh measures”, saying there will be an inevitable resurgence in cases.
Prof Heneghan told Sky News Covid-19 the virus was operating in a seasonal way similar to other respiratory infections, saying: “What we have to do now is slow down, this is a long winter.”
He said: “If we go now it’s too early. As it gets colder, as we’re inside more, there will be more coughs and colds.
“If you’re looking at a break and when we need it, we need it in the mid-winter when we might run into problems.
“There’s no evidence right now of what’s called a second wave.”
And senior Conservatives are planning to try to stop ministers imposing new coronavirus lockdown restrictions without the say of Parliament.
Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the powerful Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, has said he intends to table an amendment which would require the government to put any new measures to a vote of MPs.
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