Last year brought many difficult challenges for us all as a result of the Coronavirus and although we are now in 2021, there is no immediate prospect that things will get easier. Just when our hopes were raised by the speed that vaccines were developed to protect against the virus, it has mutated. Hopefully, the vaccines will remain effective, but the ease with which the virus is spreading is a cause for very real concern. The number of new cases has been above 50,000 a day for the past week. This is putting unbelievable strain on our health services at the time of year when they are traditionally under the greatest pressure. I am sure that we would all wish to repeat our thanks to all of those who work in the NHS and let them know just how grateful we are for the tremendous work that they are doing. The best thing that we can do to help them is to stay at home as much as possible and remember the Government messages about washing our hands regularly, not touching our face and ensuring that when we do have to go out, we leave space between ourselves and others.
My thanks go to my friend and colleague, Dean Sabri, who resigned from the Council this week. Back in 2015, Dean became Eastbourne’s youngest Councillor at the age of 21. Since that time, he: has served on the Cabinet; been the Deputy Chair of the Planning Committee and most recently Chaired the Audit and Governance committee. In addition to this he has helped very many residents who have brought their problems to him. His calm and considered approach to all that he does will be greatly missed. Many people believe that being a Councillor is a full-time paid employment, not realising that in fact Councillors receive a basic allowance of only £2808 p.a. and need other work to survive. Dean now works for an organisation which demands political neutrality, hence the reason for his resignation. He takes with him thanks for his contribution to our local community and best wishes for his future career.
I am writing this on Monday evening and have just heard the announcement of a third national lockdown. This is going to be tough, but with the speed that Covid-19 is spreading, is I believe the right decision. Hopefully, if we all abide by these restrictions, we will reduce the number of infections and, coupled with the vaccination programme, beat this virus which has caused so much disruption and suffering.