New lockdown 'desperately disappointing' says Welwyn Hatfield leader but calls for 'determination we showed last spring'

Tony Kingsbury

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council leader Tony Kingsbury has asked residents to stick to the rules. - Credit: WHBC

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council leader, Cllr Tony Kingsbury, has described the latest lockdown as "desperately disappointing", but has asked residents to stick to the rules.

Prime minister Boris Johnson announced the third national lockdown within the past year on Monday evening.

Cllr Kingsbury said on the matter:  "It is desperately disappointing that a new national lockdown has been announced. the vast majority of us have worked so hard, made so many sacrifices, and done everything we can to stop the spread of this dreadful disease. It's a bitter pill to swallow.

"Sadly, however, it has become clear that our hospitals are now facing something very different to their usual winter pressures. Without this drastic action, the demands on the NHS will become intolerable.

"We need to make sure that everyone who needs urgent treatment can get the help they need, whether that is for COVID-19, a stroke, a heart attack, a long term condition that's getting worse, or any other reason for which hospital care could be the difference between life and death.

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"This is going to be an incredibly tough period for all of us — but there is an end in sight. Things will get better, and should do quickly once the rollout of the vaccine begins in earnest.

"In the meantime, we must show all the spirit, sacrifice and determination we showed last spring to get through this, together.

"So please, look out for each other, ask for help if you need it, and remember that everyone will be dealing with this in different ways. But most of all, stick to the rules, however much you dislike them. It's the only way out of this lockdown, and the only way to protect our NHS."

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The strain on the NHS is currently as high as it has ever been since the pandemic began, with the UK COVID-19 alert level moving from level 4 to level 5 on January 4.

Which means "without further action there is a material risk of the NHS in several areas being overwhelmed over the next 21 days".

Boris Johnson said the plan is to have all over-70s, the most clinically vulnerable and frontline health and care workers to be offered a jab by mid-February, to allow the restrictions to be eased.

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