MP for Mid Worcestershire Nigel Huddleston writes for the Standard.
THE RECENT cold spell signals we are indeed in the depths of winter and the warm spring sunshine is still a way off.
But we’ve had positive news recently to lift our spirits and give us confidence that better times are ahead as we have reached the important milestone where one in four adults have received their first vaccine and we can be extra proud that in Worcestershire we have one of the highest vaccination rates in the country.
Unfortunately, we also passed the sad milestone of 100,000 deaths from coronavirus – a stark reminder of the loss and grief that we’ve faced over the past year. While the volume of Covid patients in local hospitals begins to ease, our hospitals remain under great pressure.
As a consequence of lockdown my normal visits around the constituency have been limited, with my interactions predominantly being virtual.
I continue to be in close contact with leaders of Wychavon District and Worcestershire County councils who are closely monitoring developments with the virus and working hard to keep essential local services going.
Working with many local charities and groups, council staff have been doing an incredible job ensuring businesses, families and the vulnerable have been getting the support they need.
Staff and teachers in our local schools are doing a great job at educating our children – whether remotely at home or in the classroom for children of key workers.
I’ve been particularly impressed by the positive, can-do attitude of many local headteachers who are motivating our children in incredibly difficult circumstances. As, of course, are many parents.
Even though I’ve been mostly based in the constituency, I have occasionally returned to Parliament to respond to debates and departmental questions that are still going ahead, including on tourism, the upcoming Birmingham Commonwealth Games and on support for arts, heritage and sport.
Every day we get closer to the goal of vaccinating the most vulnerable, and analysis suggests the worst may now be behind us.
But we cannot be complacent in the face of new variants and I implore everyone to continue to follow guidelines and abide by restrictions to protect our friends, family and loved ones.