JILL MORTIMER: ‘Amazing’ response in dealing with storm’s huge devastation
I want to begin this week by paying tribute to our amazing emergency services who responded so quickly to the devastation caused by Storm Arwen last week.
If it had not been for their efficiency in responding to reports of damage caused by the storm, as well as to accidents caused by the extreme weather seen last weekend, I know that the situation could have been much worse.
Hartlepool was hit badly by the storm which caused damage to property and businesses, and I know that some of you will be dealing with its aftermath for sometime. I would like to take this opportunity to reach out to anyone struggling with damage to property and say that my office would be happy to help those affected gain the support they may need moving forward. We all need to remember to stay safe over the winter and look out for those around us, particularly if we see a continuation of this bad weather.
I know many of my constituents will be concerned by the news of the latest variant of Covid-19, the Omicron variant. As has been the case throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the situation surrounding this new variant is changing all the time, however, let me add some clarity to things as they stand:
This new Omicron variant was first reported through cases in the south of Africa, and has since spread to other countries, with cases reported in the UK. The UK Government has responded quickly to reports of this new variant, and although it will take time for scientists to assess the relative implications of the variant, steps have been taken to minimise its impact. These include adding countries onto the red list for international travel and requiring all people entering the UK to take PCR tests rather than lateral flow tests, to allow potential cases of the new variant to be identified.
Alongside this, the Government has reintroduced mask wearing on public transport and in shops, to help minimise the spread. It is also more important than ever that people get vaccinated and get their booster jabs – I believe the JCVI, and the Government are advising that all over 18s get their booster jab, with the minimum time between second dose and booster being reduced to 3 months. Let’s all continue to do our bit to keep safe.