The current restrictions on our lives, imposed to control the spread of Covid 19, are inconvenient for all of us, me included. I have been adapting to remote working and to virtual Parliament, along with being a part time school tutor, which has given me renewed respect for the teaching profession. For some of us though, this period is not just inconvenient but incredibly difficult and profoundly worrying. Those who are concerned about ill or vulnerable relatives, or desperate to go back to work and restore their income, need these restrictions to be lifted as soon as possible, and we will all welcome that when it comes.
However, I hope we all recognise that the restrictions are there for good reason and protect both those most at risk and the NHS, which would otherwise be in danger of being overwhelmed. Judging the right moment to lift the current restrictions and allow the economy to restart in earnest (which of course will provide the ongoing income the NHS and other public services need) and yet not instigate a second wave of widespread infection will be incredibly difficult. I know from my own experience in Government that Ministers rarely have all the information they would ideally like before having to make decisions, and this virus, about which we are all still learning, has made that obvious to all of us. I also know that no Government gets everything right and there will come a time when we should explore in depth whether the right measures were taken to anticipate, mitigate and prepare for this crisis. It seems to me though that this time is not now. Government’s resources must surely be used now to get us through the crisis, not to respond to questions about the past. I hope journalists and Opposition politicians will keep this in mind. In the meantime we all have to be patient, to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. I hope you are staying well and look forward to seeing you when we are able to meet again.