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Statement from Cllr Sharon Taylor, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council 

“I know how tough this pandemic has been for everyone since March and the last thing we all wanted was another lockdown. But with the new variant of Covid causing dramatic rises in the number of cases, including here in Stevenage, it was clear that Tier 4 restrictions alone were not suppressing the virus. It is vital to do all that we can to save lives, protect our NHS from being overwhelmed and to give a chance for the vaccination programme to be rolled out.

“The Prime Minister announced new, tougher restrictions last night (4 January 2021), and I think it was obvious to most of us before the weekend that this would be inevitable.

“Our brilliant scientists have given us hope that we will soon be able to put this all behind us so it is now for the Prime Minister and the government to ensure the vaccination programme is rolled out with speed and in a co-ordinated and properly planned way so we can rapidly head towards the end of this current lockdown. We also need a better planned and co-ordinated testing system, especially for schools. 

“The response of Stevenage people since March has been heart-warming and extraordinary in the way people have acted to keep everyone safe and support neighbours. We all hope this will be the last lockdown, but with this new variant up to 70% more infectious than the initial Covid virus, it is more important now than ever stick to the guidelines, stay safe and protect our NHS. 

“A huge thank you again to all our council staff, all NHS heroes, the medical teams, support staff, cleaners, porters and ancillary staff, to all our blue light and essential service workers, to the teachers who will be supporting us all through this new lockdown and who are continuing to support vulnerable and key worker’s children in school and all our children with on-line learning. You are all amazing. My thoughts continue to be with all those who have been so badly affected by the virus and those that have lost family members, friends and colleagues. 

“Here is a link to the government website with details of the new restrictions.”