Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Newspaper column 30 September 2020- Autumn Covid-19 news

As the COVID-19 cases around the country continue to rise it was only right that last week the Prime Minister announced revised restrictions to help us all in the fight against this virus over the coming months.

As we move into autumn and winter, where viruses are transmitted more easily for a variety of reasons, it is not surprising that we are seeing these restrictions, which include a 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants, a return to focussing on home working where possible, and further limits on social gatherings, sporting events and guests at weddings, combined with tougher fines for people who break the rules.

I appreciate that these measures will be tough to follow but the alternative, given the increased number of cases we are seeing, would be more deaths and an even more restrictions, which no one wants to see.

The autumn and winter months also give rise to the traditional flu season. Research highlighted by Public Health England last week suggests the risk of death more than doubled for people who tested positive for both flu and COVID-19, compared to those with COVID-19 alone.

Adults at high risk from flu are also most at risk from COVID-19. As such the free flu vaccine is more important than ever to help protect the nation from a double threat this winter, and is something I would encourage everyone who is eligible to get.

Because of the COVID-19 pressures, this year, the flu vaccine programme is being expanded to  new groups, including Year 7 children and people aged 50-64, who will be offered the vaccine once the most at risk categories have had it, to help protect people from flu and ease pressure on the NHS and urgent care services.

In all, our health system this year is working to provide the free flu vaccine to 30 million people, the highest number on record.

Continuing the further support for those impacted by COVID-19, last Thursday the Chancellor announced the Winter Economy Plan – the next phase of the Government’s planned economic response to coronavirus.

This includes the Job Support Scheme, which directly funds businesses to protect these viable jobs and people’s wages, rather than laying employees off through a difficult winter. To ensure parity between employees and self-employed, the Government is also providing a grant extension for self-employed small businesses who used the existing self-employed income support scheme.

The announcement also included actions to minimise the strains on companies’ cashflows so they can focus their resources on supporting employment. This included an extension to the temporary VAT cut to Spring 2021 will support vulnerable hospitality and tourism businesses, something  which I have been lobbying the Government for, including the Tourist Minister in person when he visited Newquay and the Eden Project earlier in September. This will have a big positive impact for many of our businesses in Cornwall.

We continue to live through challenging times but I am certain that by all playing our part and following the rules, as well as through continued strong support from the Government, we will get through this together.

During these difficult times, my office team and myself will continue to do all we can to provide support, advice, and answer any questions you may have. So if you feel we can help please do get in touch. Email or call us on 01726 829379.