We can't afford confusion over local lockdowns, it could cost lives - Laura Collins, YEP Editor

For one fleeting moment it felt like there was some semblance of “normality” as we continue to emerge from the coronavirus crisis.
Shoppers wear face masks on Briggate, in Leeds.Shoppers wear face masks on Briggate, in Leeds.
Shoppers wear face masks on Briggate, in Leeds.

We’d started to venture out for socially-distant meals as shops, restaurants and pubs were finally allowed to open their doors once again.

Trips to the seaside were back on the cards and hairdressers were finally able to get stuck into fixing lockdown roots.

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Families were once again reunited after spending many months apart - no amount of video calls can ever compensate for not being in the same room together as a family unit.

For one moment we dared to put the horror of the last six months behind us and look hopefully to the future.

But then came the shadowy spectre of the virus once again after being dealt with a hammer blow last week that local lockdown measures were announced for swathes of the north of England.

It is a timely reminder of just how serious the threat of coronavirus remains to our region - it is still an ever present scourge.

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People from different households are now banned from meeting indoors or in gardens following a spike in virus cases in areas such as neighbouring Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale.

The new rules also banned members of two different households from mixing in pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues, but these businesses remain open for those visiting individually or from the same household.

So let me get this straight. For those in the impacted areas they can’t see their families in the confines of their back gardens but they can go to the pub and potentially run the risk of seeing complete strangers?

While Leeds is not subject to these new rules council chiefs have warned those who travel around West Yorkshire to “take extra care” and “stay safe”.

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Meanwhile Qari Asim, a senior Imam at the Makkah Mosque and Chair of Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board, said the faith community has been left disappointed after the government imposed local lockdowns on the eve of Eid celebrations.

The latest measures come as an estimated 45,000 people in neighbouring Leeds have been advised that shielding has now been paused.

For those who haven’t even dared to leave their homes since lockdown was enforced they are now being advised to go to work, venture out food shopping and the lifelines they have relied on, such as food parcels, will now end.

Yet all the while Government officials are looking at how to avoid a second national lockdown.

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And this is what underpins the announcement around last week’s restrictions - the sense of frustration over the lack of clarity and the little warning over the latest measures to be imposed.

Nobody can argue that public safety is the most important thing. We all have a duty to comply with the latest measures to protect and save lives.

Clear messaging is crucial so we all understand what is being asked of each of us and underpins the trust and confidence of the public.

We can’t afford confusion - this will only cost lives.

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