Express & Star comment: Expect West Midlands restrictions in December

It’s entirely understandable that businesses and residents might not wish to confront the dreadful truth facing us during this winter of discontent.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson

For all of the hope that people might hold about a return to normal, for now, we must wait. Parts of the West Midlands will not unlock early in December. They will almost certainly remain in an advanced state of lockdown while other parts in the UK enjoy an ease in restrictions.

The infection rate remains too high for a return to the freedoms we enjoyed in summer. The end game remains immunisations and until the Government rolls out a comprehensive programme, we can anticipate a game of lock-and-unlock.

While this inconvenient truth will gnaw at many, we have a moral and civic duty to play a part. It is true that some of our leaders have let us down by not following the rules. Yet by being poorly disciplined, we will only prolong the pain. The world is in the grip of a once-in-a-century pandemic and those who break the rules are simply extending the agony of further lockdowns.

The Government messaging in respect of lockdowns was exceptional back in spring. Stay home, save lives and protect the NHS was the mantra. The same is true today. As we head into a winter of flu viruses and worse, we can reduce the strain on our beloved NHS by electing not to socialise, much as we might like too. We must remember that there will be many people in far worse positions whose stoic behaviour does them proud.

Not all parts of the UK are equal and those who find themselves in a de facto Tier Four have little option but to comply with whatever regulations are imposed. It might go against the nature of our society to do so, yet we see from other parts of the world that such sacrifices are necessary. In Wales, there was uproar when a circuit breaker lockdown was imposed. England elected not to behave in the same way. It will surprise precisely no one that Wales is today in a better position than its neighbour. Lessons from around the world show us that such measures are effective.

Our hopes and aspirations must be realistic as we face up to a long winter ahead. Immunisations will eventually change the game. Until then, patience is all.

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