Andy Richardson: We’re about to open the gates to more infections at Christmas

While it’s not been a good few weeks for the Government – can anyone remember the last time it was?

Ah yes, when Jezza was leading the Opposition and we all thought he’d spend a small fraction of the sum that Rishi Sunak has actually spent, but I digress – it has been a good week for beavers.

The rodents were released into the wild in Somerset as part of a National Trust project to restore streams and reduce flooding. Having become extinct in the 16th century, they’re back with a boom and building dams. Their work is helping wildlife flourish, with kingfishers also moving in. Hurrah for beavers. Put them in Number 10.

Those who imagined lockdown was all a waste of time will be discombobulated to find that it works. And it works really, really well. A fall in Covid infections of more than 30 per cent in 12 days has followed the latest lockdown, which gives the NHS breathing space.

Of course, there are those who’ll blow the hard-earned gains over Christmas and send infections soaring again. We live in curious times.

With hard action bringing down the infection rate, we’re about to open the gates to more infections at Christmas, while Dominic Raab has warned that we’ll head into another lockdown if that happens. But then who said the Government had to show consistency? It’s not done that since March, so why start now.

Pubs and restaurants are on the frontline as the lockdown debate continues, with many Labour MPs and Tory rebels demanding more.

They have a point. Such venues are frequently safer and more sterile than people’s homes, with QR codes, staff in PPE, sanitised conditions and more.

They account for about one per cent of Covid infections but have been disproportionately targeted by BoJo. And as many will face closure after being unable to trade pre-Christmas, urgent support is needed.

Elsewhere, talk on fishing is keeping Brexit negotiations on tenterhooks. New subsidies will be made available to farmers as they are empowered to restore eroded landscapes. Mind you, if we exit the EU with no deal at all, it’s hard to see how that will help.

Many sheep farmers are destined for trouble if they can’t export their lamb stocks to Europe, the likely outcome of a No Deal Brexit. If only they’d had four years to think this through and negotiate with our European friends.

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