Written by the MP for Folkestone and Hythe, Kent
On Monday this week, we saw another important step in our path to come out of social restrictions related to coronaviruses.
It’s great that
- restaurants, cafes and pubs can now reopen for indoor service, especially given the slightly mixed weather we have experienced in recent weeks.
- The rule of allowing six people to meet indoors is coming back, two households of any size can get together, and face masks no longer need to be worn in high schools.
- Larger crowds may return for major events, such as the 20,000 fans who were able to watch the FA Cup final at Wembley last Saturday.
- International travel is now possible to “ green list ” countries that have similarly low rates of COVID-19 infection.
This list covers things we’ve taken for granted for so long, but now it’s a relief to see them return. We also look forward to the lifting of all social contact restrictions from June 21.
While there have been plenty of reports of new variant covid strains elsewhere in the world, it is not impacting in eastern Kent.
For the constituency of Folkestone and Hythe, rates of covid infection and the number of people requiring hospital treatment due to infection with the virus remain the lowest since the start of the pandemic.
This trend continued throughout the easing of restrictions and gives us confidence that we should meet the June 21 target.
While we should of course be vigilant if the data changes, we should take the low levels of infection compared to other countries as proof that vaccines work.
55 percent of people in the UK have received at least one dose and 30 percent have received both injections and are fully vaccinated. This means that more and more people are being thrown every day.
On Thursday May 27, at 3:30 p.m., I will take part in an online meeting with Councilor David Monk, the Head of Folkestone and Hythe District Council, and Cllr Roger Gough, the Head of Kent County Council, to discuss the use of Napier Barracks in Folkestone to accommodate asylum seekers.
We will be joined by representatives of the Ministry of the Interior and other agencies that have participated in the management of this facility.
The meeting will be webcast and questions from local residents for discussion during the meeting can be submitted in advance. You can find more information on this on the website of the district council.
The use of Napier Barracks is a temporary measure, the site itself has been sold for new housing as part of the Taylor Wimpey development.
However, as I have said since the asylum seekers were housed in Napier, I do not think this is a suitable facility or location to accommodate so many people at one site.
I have asked the Home Office to handle the closure of operations there, as the asylum seekers’ claims are processed.