(Reposted from Tim Loughton MP website)
Parliament returned formally this week after 2 unplanned recalls to pass the Brexit deal and debate the latest lockdown. For once the Parliamentary timetable is devoid of Brexit business as refreshingly is my mailbox, though I am probably tempting fate there! However, we are all being encouraged to work from home rather than travel to Westminster now that it is possible to contribute to debates virtually and we continue to vote by proxy.
My mailbox has certainly been filled up though with COVID related business, mostly worried people asking when they or a relation are going to get their vaccination. Curiously everyone seems to have a relative or know someone from Devizes in Wiltshire where many people have claimed that just about everyone there seem to have already had 2 jabs of the vaccine. I do not know if there is something special about Devizes or whether they have discovered a vaccine lake, but everyone is being treated equally across England and it is a question of how quickly the infrastructure can be put in place locally.
I will continue to set out the latest updates on how the roll-out is going locally on the vaccine section of my website as MPs are being given weekly briefings from the Sussex Community NHS Trust responsible for the programme. I will not repeat the information available there where my Facebook post has already reached over 30,000 people but suffice it to say that all GP practices across Adur and Worthing will be part of the vaccine delivery through surgeries and hubs like Lancing Parish Hall by the end of this week. Please do not hassle your GP surgery to find out when you will be summoned. They have enough on their plates already and everyone will be contacted if you are registered with a surgery.
The other common complaint has been from people worried about large numbers of people crowding into open areas such as Lancing Beach Green, especially if they are queuing up for coffees too. This is a difficult balance as we need people to be able to get out to exercise especially if they have been cooped up without access to a garden. If they are on the move rather than congregating, then the infection risk should be minimal. Equally takeaways are permitted at the moment and small businesses are struggling to keep afloat after so much lost business last year but only if they can do so safely and are observing all the social distancing rules. If not, they will have to be closed.
The police have been involved on a number of occasions and have an almost impossible job to determine when people are knowingly breaking rules or where interpretation is a rather grey area. It certainly was not helped by the rather overzealous officers in Derbyshire who fined 2 young women out for a walk with a ‘picnic coffee’ which have fortunately now been dropped. If we all use our common sense and use all the precautions as if we are all already infected, then the police will not have to make such difficult judgement calls. But for those who are deliberately flouting the rules then I think most people would like to see tougher enforcement and penalties.