Saving lives and taking this country out of the pandemic

Further developments in treatments for coronavirus will play a vital part in saving lives and taking this country out of the pandemic.

The Government has authorised the NHS to use the world’s first COVID-19 treatment proven to reduce the risk of death, with thousands of lives expected to be saved.

The anti-inflammatory drug Dexamethasone has been given immediate approval to treat all hospitalised COVID-19 patients requiring oxygen including those on ventilators, many supplied by Crawley-based Inspiration Healthcare.

The Department of Health & Social Care has confirmed that the UK has bought additional stocks ahead of time, as a result there is already enough treatment for over 200,000 people from stockpiles alone.

Supply is being protected for UK patients with the drug being added to the list of medicines for patients in this country which companies cannot buy and sell on for a higher price abroad.

Over £80 million in Government funding has been made available to efforts to find a coronavirus vaccine.

In the coming weeks, 300 healthy participants will take part in human trials of a vaccine developed by research at Imperial College London.

This is the first time this vaccine has been trialled in humans, with one objective being to test the effectiveness of the immune response to coronavirus.

Such innovation can help bring us closer to returning to a situation resembling normal.

As part of the launch of the wider NHS Test and Trace Service, West Sussex County Council is to receive more than £3.1 million to develop a tailored outbreak control plan, outlining measures to identify and contain potential COVID-19 outbreaks locally.

The local authority will continue to work alongside health officials to ensure Test and Trace has the resources to tackle the virus in our local area.

The NHS Test and Trace Service will be vital as we move past the pandemic, with local efforts essential to supporting the national rollout. Tens of thousands of contacts of people who have tested positive for coronavirus have been tracked already.

At the end of last week, the Joint Biosecurity Centre recommended that the COVID-19 Alert Level should move from Level Four down to Level Three.

The Alert Level ranges from Level One, which would mean the disease is no longer present in the UK, to Level Five, most critical setting.

It is thanks to the efforts of people in Crawley and across the nation that progress is being made in stopping the spread of the virus, with the death rate coming down and hospital admissions falling.

There is, however, still an epidemic in circulation, and we must keep following the guidelines carefully to ensure the Alert Level will continue to decrease.

Henry Smith MP