Prime Minister's lockdown reversal backed by Shropshire MPs
The Prime Minister's postponement of the easing of lockdown measures has been praised by MPs in Shropshire.
Boris Johnson announced that measures due to be lifted in England on Saturday, including allowing small wedding receptions and reopening bowling alleys and casinos, have been postponed for at least two weeks.
Telford's MP Lucy Allan said the news was a "tough blow" for many people including businesses that will have to stay shut, but praised the Government's "decisive" position.
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Speaking at a Downing Street press conference on Friday, the Prime Minister said: “We must be willing to react to the first signs of trouble.”
He said that with numbers rising “our assessment is that we should squeeze that brake pedal… in order to keep the virus under control”.
Telford Ice Rink is among the attractions which had planned to reopen this weekend but will now stay shut.
Borough councillor Eileen Callear, the Telford & Wrekin cabinet member for leisure, libraries and culture, said: "We were excited to be reopening and will keep working away behind the scenes to ensure we’re ready as soon as the Government announce that we can reopen.”
Ms Allan said that the Government was prioritising public health.
"Understandably many people are very disappointed by this news. The affected businesses, such as close contact businesses, are really struggling.
"What is clear is that government is prepared to act decisively when the evidence suggests that infection rates are rising and that it is prioritising public health.
"Nonetheless, this will be a tough blow for many, with plans disrupted and businesses unable to reopen.”
Although it has increased four-fold in the last fortnight, the rate of coronavirus infection in Shropshire remains low.
For the week to Wednesday, Shropshire's infection rate was 6.6 cases per 100,000 people after 21 new cases were confirmed - almost entirely at a traveller's camp in Craven Arms.
In Telford & Wrekin the rate was 2.8 cases per 100,000 people after five positive tests compared to 7.9 the week before when 14 cases were confirmed.
In comparison the rate in parts of the north west of England and west Yorkshire is as high as 83 cases per 100,000 residents.
The Wrekin's MP, Mark Pritchard, said: "This will come as a huge blow to many but the Government does need to put public health first.
"Hopefully, this swift and decisive decision will allow the revised measures to be as short-lived as possible."
Shrewsbury's MP, Daniel Kawczynski, reacted to the news with "cautious agreement".
"We have seen in certain countries like Luxembourg and Belgium the number of cases rise. We want to do everything in our power to avoid another spike.
"I can understand the Prime Minister's cautionary perspective on this. He is taking guidance from some of the very best medical experts.
"My view is one of cautious agreement and optimism.
"One of the great things about our county is that we've had a low number of cases compared to other areas and that Salopians have followed the rules in the main and been sensible.
"I'm thrilled how our hospital trust has stepped up to the plate, and the people of Shropshire have been instrumental in keeping the numbers relatively low."