It is disappointing news that Southampton, along with almost all of the rest of Hampshire will enter Tier 4 restrictions from Boxing Day.

This is not what any of us could have wanted, but these restrictions are needed to keep us all safe. We are fortunate that we are avoiding tougher rules on Christmas Day, which mean that if necessary, households can still mix in a limited way on 25th December.

From Boxing Day, people in Southampton must stay at home to stop the spread of coronavirus. Non-essential shops, close contact services, leisure and entertainment venues will have to remain closed.  Households will not be allowed to mix, but one person is allowed to meet with one other person in an outside public space. Mixing in support bubbles is permitted as before. Travel is still permitted for employment purposes if you cannot work from home and for education.

Coronavirus cases are rising in Southampton. In just a week the proportion of people with coronavirus in Southampton has more than doubled.  If we don’t act now, this will get out of control. By following the rules we can all help to protect people in our community who are most susceptible to this and help the NHS and social care front line workers who are this Christmas working to care for those in need.

We are making good progress in rolling out the vaccine, with over 500,000 people having now received their first dose. A greater proportion of people have been vaccinated in the UK than in any other country in the world. Although the situation is becoming more challenging now, things will improve next year as the vaccine helps to stop the spread of this terrible virus. By looking out for each other now, we can all look forward to a happier and healthier 2021.