The Stroud MP's weekly column.

There has been much political noise about lockdowns versus a more localised approach to dealing with the pandemic recently. I support the regional approach because there is such infection rate disparity across the country at the moment.

The common sense of people in Stroud and the excellent work of our local NHS and resilience forum means we have a low infection rate, although it is gradually increasing. I cannot support a national lockdown that will do such harm to our local economy and jobs when the infection figure does not warrant it.

This does not mean a wider lockdown might not happen in the future and I will always keep the matter under review. Yet it must be right to try an approach that protects as much of our economy in low infection areas for as long as possible while doing all we can to keep a lower infection rate.

I believe the regional approach makes us more agile in the fight against this pandemic too. We are able to pinpoint infection hotspots and we can move resources to those areas, either medical or testing capacity. We can also treat the virus much better than six months ago. We have covid-secure hospitals, surgeries, public spaces and businesses. This is a more nuanced position than in March when we knew little about the virus and even less of how it would affect jobs, livelihoods, mental health and our NHS.

Here in Stroud we are in tier one, the lowest tier and have a medium risk. This means residents need to keep to the rule of six and there is a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants.

We also know we need to carry on doing our best to wash our hands regularly, wear masks when asked to do so.

The Face, Space, Place guidelines are clear and well established.

Let’s work together to keep Stroud in Tier One.

Gloucestershire has done well so far dealing with coronavirus and its fallout. Cancer waiting time performance in Gloucestershire, for example, remains excellent and is among the best regionally and nationally. But we cannot be complacent. We are not immune from a big increase in infections as in other areas and there are already concerns about the virus in the county’s care homes.

The Director of Public Health for Gloucestershire has implemented further restrictions on visiting to care homes, and other supported living settings in Gloucester and Cheltenham. Visits will be restricted to just one family member or friend and take place outside or in a well-ventilated space.