A Lincolnshire MP has called for more people to be reliant on themselves over fears that “every successive lockdown is less and less effective”.
Sir Edward Leigh, Gainsborough MP, told the House of Commons on Wednesday that the government could not “just rely” on lockdowns.
Mr Leigh said: “Many of us who will vote for the government tonight […] are worried that with every successive lockdown they are less and less effective because whilst every death is tragic, young people will have noticed reports that out of a population of 10s of millions, only 400 have actually died who are healthy between 16 and 60.
“Will the Prime Minister tell people like me in the priority groups that there has to be an element of self-reliance, self-isolation and actually looking after our own health?”
He also urged the PM to get rid of “bureaucratic hurdles” after reporting the Gainsborough testing centre had been turning down people who were not showing symptoms away.
“Surely we want to encourage all carers or all elderly people to go in and be tested,” he added.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was “absolutely right” that people be encouraged to get tested and pointed to initiatives which encouraged community testing.
“I totally support that, but I also think that the British public and this house overwhelmingly supports measures to protect the NHS and save lives.
“He makes a valid point about the way that coronavirus impact on the population — it does fall disproportionately on the elderly in the vulnerable — but those lives must be saved where we possibly can, and I think that is what people of all generations in this country want to do.”
Spalding MP John Hayes also asked for reassurance that GPs will be equipped to vaccinate the vulnerable in order to tackle the isolation that lockdown would cause.
Mr Johnson said doctor surgeries would “clearly play a crucial part” in the vaccination programme.
In a speech to the House prior to a full debate on the latest lockdown, Mr Johnson told members of parliament that the new variant of COVID-19 was spreading “with frightening ease and speed”.
He said: “Our emergence from the lockdown cocoon will not be a big bang, but a gradual unwrapping.”
Lockdown legislation will go on until March 31, but not “be cause we expect to the full national national lockdown to continue until then, but to allow a steady controlled and evidence-led move down through the tiers on a regional basis carefully, a brick by brick,” he said.
The UK officially went into full lockdown on Wednesday, and MPs are due to debate and vote on the new rules retrospectively later today.