Brighton council leader blasts the Government for easing Covid rules

Green council leader Phélim Mac Cafferty has blasted the Government for easing Covid rules when cases are still high across the country.

Green council leader Phélim Mac Cafferty has blasted the Government for easing Covid rules when cases are still high across the country.

He made his criticisms as Brighton and Hove City Council’s Policy and Resources (Recovery) Sub-Committee met at Hove Town Hall on Thursday (January 20).

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Councillor Mac Cafferty said that the Green administration “completely disagrees” with the Government’s plan to ease “Plan B” restrictions next week.

Phélim Mac Cafferty

From next Thursday (27 January), Covid passports would no longer be required for night clubs and large events.

People would no longer be advised to work from home and face masks would no longer be mandatory in enclosed or crowded spaces.

Face mask restrictions have already eased in secondary schools.

Councillor Mac Cafferty said that the Government was relaxing the rules in response to the scandal about lockdown parties at 10 Downing Street rather than as a result of scientific advice.

He said: “It is obvious this is being done to distract from the endless parties disguised as work meetings in 10 Downing Street and to try to save the Prime Minister’s political career.

“That decision to reverse restrictions comes as there are no extra pledges on ventilation for schools – 300,000 children are out of school in just the second week of term. We only saw just yesterday (Wednesday January 19) 438 deaths nationally.

“We are concerned the Government is once again shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

“Yes, cases have gone down – but so has reported testing, so it follows when there are less tests, there are less cases.

“We’re not out of the woods by a long shot, and we don’t want to end up here again.

“We’ve remained a mask-friendly city. We have remained so as we put our residents’ health and safety first.

“I would plead with everyone to continue to look out for each other. There are still many people who are clinically vulnerable.

“On top of all of this, we are contending with huge staff shortages throughout the health and care system due to sickness.

“That is underlined by the fact there are more than 93,000 vacancies in the NHS.”

Councillor Mac Caffery encouraged people to keep testing and to take up the offer of Covid-19 vaccines.

A “Week of Walk Ins” vaccination clinics are taking place at sites across the city, including Churchill Square, with details of locations on the Sussex Health and Care Partnership website.