In the final run up to Christmas this week, all the usual feelings of excitement and expectation are dulled by the impact of the pandemic. All our plans and hopes for the festive period have fallen away as the cold reality of the new COVID variant, and the subsequent fast changing situation, have become all too real. And this after what has already been a very difficult, and sadly for many, heart-breaking year.
As I reflect on 2020 I am inspired by the huge personal sacrifices and incredible professionalism and heroism from so many people, particularly those within the NHS and in social care. Businesses of all sizes and from all sectors have been tested to their limits and our small businesses have been battling to stay afloat whilst serving their communities where possible. I understand the fatigue and frustration that comes from the ongoing restrictions on our day to day to lives and livelihoods.
But looking ahead, there is hope. As we approach this Christmas holiday period there are genuine reasons to feel optimistic. Scientists around the world have exceeded all expectations in delivering a range of vaccines that offer very high levels of protection, and our understanding of how to minimise transmission of the virus has developed rapidly. We now know for sure that we can overcome this virus. With each passing day more and more of our most vulnerable people are receiving their vaccine, and with it protection. However, the job is not yet done. Over the course of this winter and with the emergence of the easily transmitted COVID variant, it is as important as ever that we adhere to the golden rules of washing our hands, wearing a face covering and maintaining social distancing – alongside all the other restrictions that are becoming all too familiar.
We will get through this together. Thank you for all you are doing to protect family, friends and the communities around you. I wish you a safe and peaceful Christmas and offer hope of a better 2021.
Guy Opperman MP