Norfolk MP calls for lockdown amid Covid-19 surge
- Credit: Victoria Pertusa
A Conservative Norfolk MP has voiced his support for a UK-wide lockdown.
Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman said that the rise in coronavirus cases along with the new variant of the disease "demands a new approach".
In a post on Twitter, he said: "The 70% extra virulence of the new variant – and the scale of the surge in disease, hospitalisations and death has blown the pre-Christmas plan and demands a new approach.
"No responsible Government can ignore it."
Mr Freeman was responding to a Tweet from LBC host Iain Dale, who said the government should close all schools and introduce a UK-wide lockdown "for at least four weeks".
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"I fear @IainDale is right," the MP replied.
It comes after Mr Freeman said in a statement on Sunday that "it’s vital we get schools back as soon as possible", and called for the mass vaccination of teachers and school staff to make that possible.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he has "no doubt" that schools were safe and parents should send primary-age children back to classrooms this week.
But more than 100 Norfolk schools remained closed this morning, with some keeping their doors shut entirely while others took an inset day to plan ahead and carry out risk assessments.
According to his spokesperson, Labour MP Clive Lewis, who represents Norwich South, believes that schools should remain open for children of key workers and vulnerable children, as was the case in the first UK-wide lockdown.
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But he added: "Until we reach a point where it is safe to do so, schools should remain closed."
Meanwhile, North Norfolk Conservative MP Duncan Baker said it was an "immensely difficult decision", and said he believed "a combination of measures, rather than a single approach" is the best way forward.
Dr Justin O'Grady, group leader at the Quadram Institute in Norwich, told BBC Radio Norfolk on Monday that cases in King's Lynn and Great Yarmouth in particular were "rising rapidly".
He said: "King's Lynn is 32pc the new variant, while Great Yarmouth is 19pc the new variant. Those numbers are rising rapidly.
"We had an outbreak early on in November in Wymondham which was caused by the new variant. It has been spreading rapidly in the region since."