CAROLINE ANSELL MP: We need to keep up the good work on Covid

There is understandable concern about the so-called Indian variant of Covid and if this will impact the lockdown Road Map.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 2:59 pm

The simple answer is: we don’t yet know, although there is promising news that the vaccines we have are effective against it.

The Government is right to be cautious looking ahead but on a brighter note, this week brought both new freedoms and positive news on local cases.

In Eastbourne in the week to May 14, there were no positive Covid tests in our town, which is not just good news but a serious achievement and an important marker. The challenge now is to keep it that way - or as close to zero as possible in the weeks to come.

Routine self-testing for everyone and all the well-established safety measures are key ahead of the next big Road Map milestone of June 21 when most restrictions are due to end. However, the Government has always said these relaxations of the rules were conditional on the data saying it was safe to do so. I hope this will be the case next month but we must remain cautious and press on at pace with the vaccination programme.

We’re doing brilliantly well in Eastbourne on that front so when your vaccine invite comes, please do step up. It’s significant that in Bolton – an infection hotspot - nearly everyone in hospital with Covid was offered the jab but had chosen not have it. I can think of no starker reason to go out and get a vaccine.

I was delighted to step out last week to join the mayor and Plastic Free Eastbourne at the launch event of their new initiative, Eastbourne’s Spring Water Festival, ‘a celebration and discovery of our seafront’. There is a programme of activities and exhibitions for everyone to get involved in underpinned with an important message about tackling pollution, littering and waste. A huge well done to Oliver and Sue and all those who have worked hard over lockdowns to bring this forward.

The Water Festival was Cllr Steve Wallis’ very last engagement as Eastbourne’s mayor. I would like to thank him for all he has done for our town during these challenging times. It has been a pleasure to work with him to support new businesses and local groups and to raise important funds to support vulnerable people in our community. With the elections just passed, my colleague, David Elkin retired from a stellar 21 years of dedicated public service with leading roles at both Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council. His contribution in local government has been second to none. I thank him and the lovely Sandra Elkin, who has been such a tower of support through the years.

I continue to put Eastbourne on the map in Parliament and am looking forward to bringing ministers to town to advance that cause. There is a great deal of work ahead to reset our fortunes and I renew my pledge to work with new local leaders to see everyone in our town prosper.