5:53 PM November 29, 2021
Ipswich’s two MPs have backed the speeding up of the Covid booster rollout and the return of mandatory face masks.
Amid concern over the new Omicron variant, it has been announced everyone aged 18 and over will be offered a booster jab, with the gap between the second dose and booster being reduced to three months.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid also confirmed today that from Tuesday onwards face coverings will once again be mandatory in shops and on public transport.
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt, who is currently arranging his booster encouraged others to do the same, adding: “I support the government position on boosters.”
He said the roll-out of vaccines had put the UK in a good position compared to other countries.
On masks, the MP said: “At the moment, we still don’t know a huge amount about this variant. There are still lots of questions, so I think it would be premature to do anything more than we have done.
“What the government has decided to do it for three weeks only, and I will support it, but I don’t want there to be any creep from this to other restrictions unless there is a good justification.
“I am pleased it hasn’t been extended to hospitality as well, because I think that would have had a negative impact on businesses in Ipswich.”
Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, also welcomed news of the booster roll-out to younger people and 12 to 15-year-olds getting a second dose.
He said: “I am very supportive of speeding up the roll-out of booster vaccines for over-18s.
“For older children, the risk benefit analysis falls on the side of being vaccinated, bearing in mind that having the vaccine also helps younger people to protect their parents and grandparents from the virus.”
Dr Poulter, who also works within the NHS, backed the decision on masks, commenting: “I have always taken the view that mask wearing on public transport and in crowded public places should have continued during the winter months.”
He said it was sensible to take these precautions in light of the new variant. “I think it’s highly unlikely we will go back into another full lockdown situation, but would not be surprised if some minor additional precautions needed to be taken.
Meanwhile, an Ipswich hairdresser and beautician welcomed the move to make masks mandatory in salons once again.
Nicola McHardy, owner of the Bodylines Beauty Salon, which is based at the Suffolk Food Hall in Wherstead, said: “I definitely think it’s the right thing to do.”
She said her hair and beauty salon had continued to require masks ever since it was allowed to reopen and had also continued with all the cleaning, sanitising and providing hand gel for customers.
“We haven’t stopped wearing masks and we ask our clients to wear them too. All our clients have been very good.”