Throughout the UK, cases of coronavirus have risen to deeply concerning levels. The new, more easily transmissible, strain of the virus has contributed to this increase in cases and has increased the speed of transmission to an alarming pace.
In Sheffield, the latest available data shows a 28% increase in cases in the seven days to 30 December. Across the country hospital admissions are rising. Unfortunately, hundreds of people and their families are now experiencing the most tragic outcome of this virus.
The virus is out of control. Yesterday, the Chief Medical Officers said that without further action the NHS was at risk of being overwhelmed. This cannot be allowed to happen. It is increasingly clear that stronger measures are needed in order to bring the virus back under control.
Tomorrow I will support the necessary regulations to put the lockdown into law. However, I will also press the Government at every opportunity to ensure workers and businesses get the support they need, that children who do not have access to computer equipment or the internet are supported to learn from home, and that the vaccine is rolled out as effectively and urgently as possible.