Secretary of State Michael Gove M.P. has said that “we need to learn to live with Covid”. This statement comes as no surprise to me, as it is clear firstly that the virus is not simply going to disappear and secondly that we cannot continue to hide away forever. What makes far less sense is the rumour that the Government is likely to announce an end to lateral flow testing. Whilst it is true that due to the vaccination programme, far less of those infected with Covid end up in hospital, we must not forget that this virus has killed over 150,000 people in the UK. This is one and a half times the entire population of Eastbourne and so to remove means by which people can freely test and if positive, isolate, in order to avoid transmission is crazy. We are told that the justification is the cost, but if the Government put money before health, they do not deserve to be forgiven. Whilst the infection rate remains so high, we must do all that we can to see this reduced.
Staying with Michael Gove, I was pleased to read his announcement on Monday regarding who will have to foot the bill for the removal of what, following the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire, is recognised as dangerous cladding on many blocks of flats. Until now, the burden of meeting this cost was with the owner, not only leaving them facing a large bill through no fault of their own, but also placing a blight over the properties, making them almost impossible to sell, until remedial work is completed. This decision will lift that pressure on the owners of thousands of flats, including many in Eastbourne. Developers have until March to agree a deal with the Government, and I just hope that this can result in speedy action, in order to make the buildings safe.
On a positive note, huge congratulations must go to Chris Jordan and all of the cast and crew of the marvellous pantomime ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ which has just completed its run at the Devonshire Park Theatre. I went to two performances (oh yes, I did!) and thoroughly enjoyed it. At a time when Covid has cast a shadow over so much, it brought a moment of fun and laughter into our lives. Despite many of the cast and supporting crew having to take time out during the run and needing to isolate, the whole team rallied round to ensure that the show did indeed go on – well done and thanks to them all. I am already looking forward to seeing Aladdin next winter and tickets for the show are on sale now.