Early end to lockdown highly unlikely, warn Shropshire MPs

Shropshire's MPs say they expect the present lockdown to stay until at least March as coronavirus continues to place the National Health Service under great pressure.

Lockdown three started at the beginning of January
Lockdown three started at the beginning of January

The county's MPs said there was little option but to persist with the strict restrictions until all the most vulnerable groups had been vaccinated against the disease.

On January 6, Parliament voted to lockdown England for a third time – up until March 31 if needed.

But with cases in the county still high, MPs are reluctant to see lockdown relaxed.

In the week until January 19, infection rates stood at 411.3 per 100,000 people in Shropshire, 492.1 in Telford & Wrekin and 180.5 in Powys.

Telford MP Lucy Allan said she thought it would be a number of months before the restrictions were lifted in their entirety.

Lucy Allan

"I expect that restrictions will be removed very gradually as we work through the vaccination programme," she said.

"I am confident some important restrictions will be lifted by March, such as schools and gyms reopening, and that there will be a gradual progression of easing of other restrictions as we move forward.

"I do not expect all restrictions to have been completely removed for some time to come.

"Once the over 65s and all clinically vulnerable have been vaccinated we will be in a very different place."

North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson said he was concerned about the impact the regulations were having on both the economy and people's mental health.

Owen Paterson MP

"The quicker we can end the lockdown, the better, because of the impact on businesses and the economy. I'm very concerned about the mental health impact on people.

"But I'm not party to the latest figures. I can't say. It's still putting our health service under huge pressure.

"It's a very difficult position for the Government to be in."

Daniel Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, said it was premature to talk about ending the rules.

"I want to see the vaccine roll-out taking root and having a positive effect on bringing down the infection rates before there's any discussion about the lockdown being lifted," he said.

"I'm very proud the United Kingdom has now delivered more than five million vaccines, more than any other European country.

"But I wouldn't at this stage be looking for these restrictions to be ended.

"As the vaccine programme takes place, and we have more people protected from this vile disease, that is when we can start talking about lifting the lockdown."

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