Today, myself and other Conservative MPs for the Tees Valley, including Simon Clarke, Matt Vickers, Peter Gibson and Paul Howell, wrote to our local authority leaders to urge caution when considering placing further restrictions on the lives of residents.
I do not believe that a local lockdown is the right step for us. The number of cases in Redcar and Cleveland is less than 50 people per 100,000, unlike Hartlepool, which is currently over 100 people per 100,000. Since the levels of infection are so varied across different parts of Tees Valley, we believe a targeted approach at a postcode level would be much more effective than blanket bans. A complete ban on home visits, for example, would further condemn thousands of local people to loneliness and isolation.
The latest measures have only been in place for a few days. We need to give these more time to bed in before we can effectively judge whether they are working or not.
It is also of the utmost importance that we have a feasible exit strategy in place, should we enter a localised lockdown. We've witnessed areas such as Leicester enter lockdown months ago, and they are still stuck in the same position now.
Our approach to any new restrictions must be measured, proportionate and targeted.