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Questions must be answered over lockdown timing, says council health lead

Questions will be raised over the announcement of a second lockdown and whether it should have been put in place earlier, according to the council’s health lead.

Conservative Councillor Stuart Carroll (Boyn Hill), lead member for health, whose professional background is in epidemiology and infectious diseases, revealed he is ‘not surprised’ to a see a second national lockdown, but questioned the necessity of forcing Royal Borough businesses to shut when the infection rate was ‘relatively under control’.

He said: “There will be questions that have to be answered about the timing of the decisions, and were decisions made quickly enough around lockdowns?

“But without doubt, unfortunately, this had to happen.

“Locally, we were looking at a very focused strategy and we have been following that strategy very carefully.

“Although we’d seen an increase and were on the cusp of tier 2, we were not ballooning up to the tier 3 area. We have seen the infection relatively under control.

“We could have potentially operated under tier 2 but are no longer able to and we have been put essentially into tier 4.”

Cllr Carroll stated that the council will be seeking financial support from the Government to make up for lost income and support the businesses that will be most affected by the lockdown.

He said: “It has very big consequences and we are very concerned for local businesses, we have been very concerned right from the start.

“We need to see more from the Government to support the businesses that are really going to struggle.”

Despite the pain that a second national lockdown will bring for the Royal Borough, one saving grace will be the volunteer network that stepped up over the spring and summer to help the most vulnerable people in the area through the pandemic.

Cllr Carroll said: “The volunteers have never stopped. That has been one of the most heartening and pleasing things from this terrible pandemic, is the community spirit and volunteering network.

“So many people have volunteered. We are in a good position as a local community, and I would urge people to volunteer as much as possible.”

If you are interested in volunteering during lockdown, email volunteer@RBWM.

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