Constituency matters… a weekly column by the Member of Parliament for Folkestone and Hythe, Damian Collins 23 June 2021.
Best indication yet of the power of the vaccine
The latest information about the spread of the coronavirus in the Folkestone and Hythe constituency is the best indication yet of the power of the vaccine.
Over the last few weeks there has been a clear increase in the spread of the virus, which has been back at the levels last seen in March. This of course is a long way below the peak infection rates we saw at the start of the year. However, there have been no deaths from COVID-19 in Folkestone and Hythe since April, and according to the latest data, there is no-one currently being treated on a ventilator in hospital as a result of infection by the virus, and overall the hospitalisation rates are at the lowest they have been since the start of the pandemic. Furthermore, the spread of the virus over the last few weeks has mainly been amongst people in their 20s who had not yet been vaccinated.
As a result of the vaccination programme people have been protected from this new variant of the virus, and those that have been infected have not required extensive medical treatment.
The task now is to complete the vaccination of the adult population, and the government has set the target that by 19 July everyone aged over 18 will have been offered and received their first dose of the vaccine, and two thirds of all adults will have had both jabs.
This is our best guarantee against further new variants of the coronavirus spreading. The high level of vaccination of the population will also make it much easier to remove the remaining social contact restrictions, knowing that we have reached a point where we can live without fear of the virus causing significant levels of infection, and that those who do still get it are very unlikely to require hospital treatment.
Events Research Programme
This week I spoke in the House of Commons about the work of the governments Events Research Programme, which has allowed some major events to re-open with spectators in attendance.
This has allowed fans back into Wembley for the Euro 2021 matches, and The Open golf championship at Royal St George’s at Sandwich next month, will also take place with the full number of spectators allowed onto the course. This has not only been welcome news for the venues and organisations that host these events, but also for the large number of hotels and hospitality businesses that do well when they are held.
The Events Research Programme has allowed the government to track the spread of the coronavirus amongst people who have recently attended such events, and whilst we await the full report, so far, the results that have been commented upon have been very encouraging.
At the end of last month, of the 58,000 people who had then attended events in the programme, only 15 people had contracted covid-19.
It will be vital for the recovery of the sector that people have confidence that they can put on events safely and that they are unlikely to be required to introduce new restrictions. We also need to look at how we can support the events industry for the future by making insurance affordable against any possible future impacts due to a recurrence of the pandemic.