WE always thought locking Britain down again and closing schools could only ever be done as a desperate last resort. We grimly accept that time has come.
If the staggering increase in positive cases — and, worse, hospitalisations and deaths — doesn’t merit such curbs, what does? And what alternative is there?
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We do not blame Boris Johnson for his reluctance to plunge England in a third lockdown, but we now grimly accept it is our last resort[/caption]
The new, far more infectious Covid mutation is rampant. Britain is at an unprecedented Level 5 alert. The NHS is 21 days from being overwhelmed. And a third lockdown, as hideous as the prospect is, is at least more palatable now that vaccines look likely to end this catastrophe within months.
We do not blame Boris Johnson for his reluctance to take this drastic action. His instinct, correctly, was to keep the country open. But events change fast. One day the PM is told schools are safe, the next they’re not. The new strain may indeed make them more likely hotspots.
These are huge, agonising calls. Keir Starmer’s opportunistic blustering proves how unfit Labour is to make them. The PM’s sombre national TV address last night conveyed the gravity of our situation well. Gone was the usual Boris optimism. There was no sugar-coating.
We were back to 2020’s bleak mantra: “Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives.” And he told us straight: “The weeks ahead will be the hardest yet.”
We do urge our readers to follow the rules to the letter. But it is vital too that the Government recognises the scale of the damage it is having to inflict on our economy and our kids’ educations. It must fund laptops for secondary school children who lack them. Without the right tech for home-schooling, the poorest will lag yet further behind.
GCSE and A-level pupils at least know already their exams have been scrapped. But they must be cut some slack over qualifications for sixth-form or securing grades for university. Their education, wrecked since last March, is now in tatters. Home-schooling is a poor substitute for classwork at such a point.
Meanwhile the Treasury must borrow billions more to keep viable firms alive. The mid-winter Covid nightmare the Government feared most is upon us.
Unlike in 2020, though, we do now have real, tangible hope in every vaccine shot.
WE share Matt Hancock’s delight at the Oxford vaccine’s debut — but his claim that the “end is in sight” is a stretch.
Yes, we have had a flying start and done far more jabs than the EU (to pick one example at random).
Matt Hancock’s claim that the ‘end is in sight’ thanks to the Oxford jab is a stretch, it still seems a long way off as 2.2 million need to be vaccinated a week[/caption]
But we need 2.2million vaccinated each week even to relax the lockdown by late February.
That seems a long way off.
A host of medics and 10,000-plus Sun Jabs Army volunteers stand ready.
We are told there are ample supplies.
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We want no excuses . . . we must be inoculating vast numbers within days.
The Government must set and hit ambitious targets, publishing daily progress.
Success is a matter of life and death.
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