Public Health: Coronavirus Regulations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:38 pm on 13th October 2020.

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Photo of Sam Tarry Sam Tarry Labour, Ilford South 4:38 pm, 13th October 2020

I speak amid concerning news for our constituency: our borough, Redbridge, has the highest infection rate in London alongside Richmond upon Thames. Infection rates in the London borough of Redbridge have risen to more than 100 per 100,000, and in some of my Ilford South wards it is significantly higher.

I welcome the Government’s latest three-tier guidelines, but I feel that they need to go significantly further. Hundreds of my constituents have written over the past few days expressing concern that we have such a high rate. I have visited shops and businesses, speaking to people face to face in the appropriate socially distanced way. They are extremely concerned about the direction of travel.

The London director of Public Health England, Professor Fenton, has warned that coronavirus cases in London continue to rise, and we are seeing undeniable evidence of that trend. In fact, infection rates are rising across the country despite the partial and tight lockdown measures in many parts of the country. It is clear that the Government must now act more decisively than they have so far to stop any further escalation of infection rates in London. We must learn the lessons of other regions across the country that have had partial lockdowns and are still seeing rising infection rates. I am speaking to councillors in Oldham, which has witnessed soaring infection rates—above 205 to 327 per 100,000 in the space of just a week—despite being under tight lockdown measures since the end of August. The partial lockdown measures in regions such as Greater Manchester have clearly failed to curb infection rates, with Manchester’s infection rate rising by more than 100 to 543 per 100,000 just last week.

The current overall London lockdown infection rate remains at 100 per 100,000. That is why I believe it is now time for the Government to act urgently across London by implementing a circuit-breaker lockdown for at least two weeks to prevent London from suffering the fate of other major cities across the country and to halt the trend of rising infection rates across the city. I recognise that this needs to be hand in hand with further economic measures, because it is a more radical measure, but it must be done. I will not be able to look my constituents in Ilford South in the eye when their friends and family are dying because of the utter chaos and ineptitude of this Government.

That initial financial support must urgently be provided to the workers and businesses in Ilford South and across London. The cost would be far smaller than that which would be required if the infection and death rates soared, and London was forced into a far longer and more serious lockdown over a protracted period of many months. Similar calls have been echoed by the Mayor of London, who just today stated the need for tighter restrictions across the city. In my constituency, all the data shows that it is our black and majority Asian communities that are suffering so badly as a result of the virus. We cannot afford for them to continue to be on the frontline.

I implore the Government, who have the lives of my constituents in their hands, to act now and bring in a circuit-breaker lockdown across London immediately.