The infection rate of Covid-19 in Derbyshire Dales remains low, but is increasing. The low infection rate is testament to the determination of residents in Derbyshire Dales to follow the guidelines, look out for one another and being sensible in their approach to dealing with this pandemic.
In the areas that surround the constituency, the numbers are not as low as here and in some places the infection rate is rapidly increasing. I suspect that more areas will rightly be moving to Tier 2 to help stop further increases in infection. What I am determined to prevent, however, is Derbyshire Dales being moved up a tier by default for wider administrative ease.
My fear is that as a county, Derbyshire could be moved to Tier 2 as a whole. Of course, this would help with the administration of measures and perhaps even the ease of understanding for residents across Derbyshire, but I do believe that this could cause unnecessary, and unfortunately in some cases, irreparable damage to our businesses here in Derbyshire Dales.
In areas of very low infection rates I am supportive of any measures the Government can put in place to customise restrictions to reflect differing levels of risk. It is, however, still vital that we continue to follow the guidelines the Government has set out so that we can maintain our low rates of transmission here in the Derbyshire Dales.
In my opinion the response to this virus should be a local one. If we can tackle this virus ward by ward as opposed to county by county, then I feel we will continue to lower infection rates, as well as, protecting our businesses here.. The longer our businesses are able to trade, the better they will be able to weather any more difficult times ahead.
Residents in Derbyshire Dales and other low infection rate areas should not be penalised for following the rules and keeping infection rates low. A blanket raising of the tier across Derbyshire would not consider the nuances of each area, the infection rates, or the communities.
If the cases rise in Derbyshire Dales I would fully support a higher tier to reduce the rate of infection, but whilst the cases remain low, raising the tier should not be used as a preventative measure, but only when and if it is absolutely necessary.
Also, when and if Derbyshire Dales has been moved into Tier 2, perhaps partly for administrative ease, because other parts of Derbyshire have fared badly, we could easily become a hostage to fortune and presumably, may be kept in Tier 2 until the most affected areas of the county improve, which could be some considerable time. I would not like to see this happen to Derbyshire Dales.
I have raised my concern to balance the need to keep businesses open whilst protecting our population on the floor of Parliament, and I will continue to bring this matter to the attention of Ministers at the highest possible level.