The choice between tackling the virus or protecting our economy is false. Ministers must do both

A second lockdown must happen to save lives and jobs, but it will be incredibly difficult. The fact that we’re all in it together makes it a little easier to bear

Sadiq Khan
Thursday 05 November 2020 09:15
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Ending national lockdown if cases still rising would be ‘madness’, Starmer claims

It’s unusual to dread something while also knowing that it’s the right thing to do – as so many of us feel about lockdown.

It must happen to save lives and jobs, but it will be incredibly difficult.

The fact that we’re all in it together makes it a little easier to bear. We are making a monumental shared sacrifice for the collective good and to protect the most vulnerable among us.

The new rules in place from today until early December are tough. Everyone must stay at home other than to go to school, to work if you can’t work from home, to exercise, to buy necessities, for medical reasons or to care for the vulnerable.

You can’t meet anyone, other than your bubble, indoors or in private gardens. You can meet just one person from another household in an outdoor public space.

Non-essential retail must close and public transport should be reserved for essential journeys. Those aged over 60, or with underlying conditions, must take special care.

The choice between tackling the virus or protecting our economy is false. Ministers must do both.  

Businesses lost now will be gone for good. They must be supported until our economy can recover.

The furlough extension and additional support for the self-employed is welcome, but more grants for businesses and support for the poorest are urgently needed.

It would be easy to lose hope in the face of new restrictions – but we must not.

Johnson says there is ‘light ahead’ as he defends second national lockdown

London has lower rates of the virus than other parts of the country, so we’ll get the maximum benefit from lockdown. Hopefully we can drive the virus down quickly and reopen our economy.

Once cases are down, we must control the virus with a functioning test, trace and isolate system – the government now has a month to fix ours. And every week, scientists make progress on treatments and vaccines to enable a return to normality.

Ultimately, however, we must take hope from each other and in knowing that we face this challenge together. I find hope in the kindness of fellow Londoners, who have responded to adversity in extraordinary ways. Solidarity is hardwired into our city’s DNA.

Londoners will get through this crisis, together. Our amazing city will flourish. We’ll look back with pride at how we protected the vulnerable and rebuilt a more open, equal and compassionate city. We must grasp that future together.

Sadiq Khan is the mayor of London

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