Until recently, Bridgend had the highest infection rate in the entire country. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to say to everyone there, and to everyone considering visiting one of the popular tourist areas of Bridgend and Porthcawl, to please stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.
I have just a few short points to make and will be as quick as I can. On immunisations, the speed at which the vaccinations have been made available is truly remarkable. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is testimony to the excellent science and research and development that we have in this country. Equally remarkable is our progress so far against the immunisation schedule—an ambitious schedule: we have already vaccinated 2.3 million people, I think, with 2.6 million doses. That is encouraging; it is a welcome achievement. It underlines the difference between how we are all feeling now with how we were feeling in March. There is light at the end of the tunnel and an end in sight.
My constituents are anxious to better understand that end and how the vaccine roll-out will translate into the return of their freedoms, the opening up of their businesses and the return of their children to schools and colleges. It is reasonable that now we have a vaccine and an achievable immunisation schedule, which will hopefully lead to us preventing just under 90% of deaths by
My constituents also contact me about the rules and restrictions in place. To them I say: this is an unprecedented crisis. Tens of thousands of Britons have lost their lives and clearly the Government are right to take action to control the spread of this deadly virus, but those actions have been and are being informed by data and modelling that have not been published. That is a real shame because it means the data and modelling have not been subjected to review by academic peers, experts or—most importantly—the public themselves.
Finally, many constituents have contacted me to express disappointment at how different parts of the UK have dealt with the pandemic and how that has led to confusion. I always urge them to follow local rules, but I sincerely hope that we face our next challenge as global Britain and one United Kingdom.