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Council Leader provides his thoughts in weekly column

Posted on 24 Sep 2020

We continue to live through the biggest public health crisis in generations.

There is no doubt that over the summer, progress was made in suppressing the virus. But as we reopen, including schools and indeed pubs, we have seen cases rise again.

On the day we entered lockdown - March 23 - there was 83 new cases in Scotland. On Saturday, there was a reported 350 new positive cases.

The percentage of tests returning positive results is rising.

Whilst the number of people being omitted to hospital is nowhere near the levels seen around April and May, it is the case that the majority of positive cases are currently under the age of 40 and, with concern, it is important to note that the same was the case in France a number of weeks ago but with their ‘R rate’ increasing they are seeing the virus transmit to older people once more. That is something that we must try to avoid.

It feels as if we are at a critical point again. None of us want to go back the way but, as it has been for North Ayrshire Council since day one, public health must be our priority.

This virus has already taken too many lives, including too many in Scotland’s care homes. And we must do everything we can to prevent it from taking more.

We will all be aware of the new restrictions introduced earlier this week. It is vital that we all comply with the guidance and follow every measure to suppress the virus again. It will be difficult, but our personal sacrifices will be for the greater good of our communities

Our actions, as citizens, can literally save lives.

Back in March, we were dealing with an unprecedented situation. None of us, including all of us at the Council, had ever experienced anything like this. But, over the last six months we have learnt a lot and I want to reassure everyone that should the unthinkable happen, and we end up back in lockdown, North Ayrshire Council will be a position to act even quicker than we did six months ago.

We now know what challenges may arise, who will need support and what kind of support they will need.

We know what interventions worked and we can quickly mobilise to put them in place.

We know that, in the face of a crisis, our communities will support each other and ensure no one is left without.

Yes, there will be many challenges, and difficult decisions, but by prioritising the health and wellbeing of our neighbours, we know we will pull together and get through those challenges.

I, like you, want to get back to some semblance of normality. We have made steps towards that in recent months but if we face a setback in the coming days, the important thing is we act quickly to ensure we get through that period as soon as possible.

 Please, stay safe and together we will through these challenging times.