Happy New Year, although that was no one’s idea of a quiet and peaceful Christmas, and the next few months are unlikely to be any easier.
Starting with the roads, the late addition of the French demand for Covid tests from everyone travelling across the Channel to the plans for the post-Brexit period was one more hurdle to jump. After the first few days, I spent much time and energy persuading the authorities that keeping the M20 open was good, but that it was much less use if Junctions 8-13 were closed. Happily this had some effect and the junctions were re-opened.
Moving on to testing, I am now concerned that in the coming weeks the community testing we have been promised, as Ashford’s Covid numbers have been so high, is turned into reality. As it happens our local numbers have been coming down in recent days, as have those in our neighbouring Boroughs, but given the worrying national rise we cannot be too careful. We have seen numbers fall before, and then start rising again.
Which brings me to the one piece of good news in this period, the arrival of the various vaccines. Now that the Oxford Astra/Zeneca vaccine has been approved the roll-out will speed up appreciably.
This is really heartening, but I should take this chance to ask for a little patience. Many people have been emailing me asking when they will receive their vaccination. This is in the hands of the individual surgeries, and each minute someone in the NHS spends answering questions about when the vaccine will be available is time they are not spending vaccinating someone!
The coming weeks are not going to be any easier than the past few months. But we can now see the route back to normality, and that hope is worth a great deal.