We have got used to the feeling that Norfolk has a very low infection rate of Covid-19 and I fear that this is leading us into a false sense of security. Whilst it’s true that the East of England as a whole has lagged most of the rest of the country in rates of infection, this time round we are seeing growing transmission in our community in a way that we have not seen before. At the time of writing Broadland has an infection rate of c150/100,000 population and rising. Rates of infection in North Norfolk are much lower, but with a typically more vulnerable population. We cannot be complacent: if we want to be able to open shops and maintain livelihoods in the run up to Christmas, whilst not overloading our hospitals, we must do all we can to make the Covid-19 restrictions work. Without all of us choosing to stick to the rules there is a risk that we will end up with another spike of infections in early January. It is in our hands to prevent this.
Like many of us I have been enormously encouraged by the potential new vaccines. There is every reason to be hopeful for the future. With increasing light ahead we still need to stick together to get through this winter, protecting each other and ourselves: we can do it by maintaining our vigilance, not mixing with other families, however tempting, and keeping to the hands, face, space mantra.
As our thoughts turn towards Christmas, I was delighted to give Sophie and Isabel, both from Taverham, winner and runner up certificates for my Christmas card competition – their wonderful drawings have been made into my Christmas card and will be delivered to hundreds of families over the next few weeks.
I don’t know what Christmas is going to look like this year. In my family, if the to-do list feels sufficiently under control to be able to attend midnight mass then you know that you are ahead of the game. Too often, cooking, last minute wrapping and tidying mean that I miss it. This year it may have to be different. But, whatever restrictions on our lives come Christmas Day, I will try to remember how lucky I am when compared to a young family, away from home, sheltering in a shed in Bethlehem.
However we celebrate Christmas this year, Happy Christmas!
Member of Parliament for Broadland