This afternoon Bill Wiggin, MP for North Herefordshire spoke in the Coronavirus Act Extension debate. You can find the full speech below.

You can find the link to the speech here: https://parliamentlive.tv/Download/Index/59dd07d7-db1a-4b32-9fd1-8923ff582240. Mr Wiggin MP’s speech starts at 14:20:10

Coronavirus Act Extension Debate 

Introduction 

It has certainly been a challenging time for my constituents in North Herefordshire. 

However, their fortitude and community spirit must be highly commended. 

It is a national triumph that vaccines were produced and approved in record time. 

This was the silver bullet that I have been asking for in all my speeches to this house for many months. 

We are all so proud that ours is one of the world’s most successful vaccine rollouts. 

Therefore it is disappointing not to see more justification from the Government as to why the Coronavirus Act needs to be extended for as much as another 6 months. 

People must be able to understand the exit from lockdown and that these powers are for their good. 

This is especially when the most vulnerable in society have been vaccinated with their first or two jabs against this dreadful disease. 

Vaccine Data 

Thanks to the work of the Vaccine Taskforce, the Pharmaceutical companies, NHS staff, volunteers and the regulators, we should be proud of our truly world-beating vaccine rollout programme. 

Herefordshire continues to top the list as amongst one of the areas of highest vaccination rates. 

Over 91,000 people in Herefordshire have now received their first dose

Nearly 100% of the first 5 categories laid out by the JVCI have been jabbed. 

And over 61% of the 55-59 year old category

Over 28 million people have now been vaccinated in this country. 

That equates to 54.4% of the adult population

Nearly 850,000 people received a dose on Saturday alone. 

I had my first injection today.

We must now capitalise on this success and the global opportunities that this creates for the UK. 

The Prime Minister rightly stated that we will be guided by Data, not dates. 

The rollout of the vaccine was always going to change the game and it is doing the job required of it. 

The golden window of opportunity is now opening for us. Let us not miss the chances that we have got. 

We are free from the EU and we can manoeuvre economically and commercially- safe from Corona 19.

Globally this is an almost unique advantage for our businesses who have been supported throughout the crisis.

Now we must make sure we collect on our investment.

Case Data 

From the 9 March – 15 March, Herefordshire had a Covid case rate of 34 cases per 100,000. 

When we entered the latest set of restrictions, the County was at 254 per 100,000. 

There are only 58 cases in the entire County at present

On 10 May last year, the Prime Minister announced the relaxation of some lockdown measures.  

At the time, the R Rate was between 0.5 and 0.9.  

On 15 March the R rate across the entire Country was between 0.6 and 0.9

On the 10 May last year, the 7-day average for hospital admissions with Covid was 987.3.  

On the 17 March this year the 7-day average was 426.1.

The country had restrictions lifted the first time around in very different circumstances last year. 

Considering that children are already back at school, and the vaccine rollout is so successful, we are actually in a safer place now, than we were last May. 

Europe 

The good people of this country have abided by the often-draconian and unprecedented restrictions on their life for over a year now. 

We must reward their sacrifice and clearly show them a way out of the pandemic.  

People are undoubtedly growing weary and frustrated. 

I understand the concerns of a third wave, as seems to be happening in much of Continental Europe.  

However, Europe’s statistics look vastly different to our own.  

Germany is set to enter a nationwide lockdown with rate of 104 per 100,000 people infected. 

This compares to only 56.3 in this country. 

Notably, they have vaccinated only 12.6 people out of 100.

Italy’s infections rose 10% last week, leading into another lockdown that began on Monday. 

Case numbers are instead dropping in this country. 

Again, Italy has only administered 12.8 doses per 100 people. 

France reported over 35,000 new cases just one week ago. 

In contrast, the UK experienced 5600 yesterday. 

France has jabbed 11.8 doses per 100 people and has a worsening anti-vax problem. 

The UK has jabbed over 45 people out of every 100.

A number that is rising rapidly each day. 

Easing Lockdown 

With having amongst the highest vaccine uptake rates in the world, the UK finds itself in a promising position. 

We need not follow Europe’s trend toward a third wave, and ever more lockdowns.  

By securing the borders effectively we can begin to reopen our society, while keeping the R rate low and continuing to vaccinate our people.  

People need to return to work, and we need to get the country moving again. 

Of course, there is still the need for some rules. 

If someone breaches the rules and puts people’s lives at risk, there must be sanctions by which to punish them. 

This is especially true for those coming from abroad. 

This is why I will therefore I will dig deep into the loyalty vault and today vote with the Government. 

We must remember that the need for continued blanket restrictions is fast becoming untenable and voting for 6 more months of them seems disappointing and sad. 

However, we accept that the Government retains powers to prevent irresponsible behavior. 

The type of behavior that jeopardises our war against this virus. 

Especially when the end is so clearly in sight and the rewards of freedom and a return to prosperity beckon.”