This Week in Politics: Hope In The Fight Against Covid

This week, the West Sussex Youth Cabinet decided to kickstart their social media campaign, centering around promoting political engagement. So, as a result, you’ll be receiving a weekly summary every Friday on the latest political events, here on the WSYS blog!

Lockdown Returns: Monday was a big day, and a hard one for all of us. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced that we would be going into a full lockdown the next day, much like the one we had back in March. We also saw the comeback of a slogan used by the government last year: “Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives”. 

Until at least mid-February, you must stay at home, only leaving home for exercise (once a day with your household, support bubble or one other person), essential shopping or medical appointments (such as a Covid-19 test). Schools, non-essential retail and restaurants (among other facilities) have been shut. 

Although, the announcement didn’t end there – the Prime Minister also announced that “it is not possible or fair for all exams to go ahead this summer as normal”, meaning that GCSE and A-level exams in 2021 would be cancelled, something both the government and students were hoping to avoid. 

After much uncertainty over the cancellation of summer exams, the Education Secretary – Gavin Williamson – announced on Wednesday to the House of Commons that students in Year 11 and Year 13 would be given GCSE and A-level results through teacher assessments (meaning that teachers will determine final grades for students who would have been instead sitting exams). This decision follows the A-level results day fiasco last year, in which an algorithm was used to determine pupils’ grades. Referencing this, the Education Secretary said that this year’s grades would be given by “teachers, not algorithms”.

However, we now have something to give us hope: Brian Pinker (aged 82) became the first person to receive the Covid-19 developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca (a pharmaceutical company). Matt Hancock, the UK’s Health Secretary, described it as a “pivotal moment”, in the UK’s fight against the virus.

The Prime Minister confirmed that nearly 1.5 million people in the UK have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine (which requires two doses to provide immunity) – how incredible! By mid-February, the target is to vaccinate 13 million people in the top four priority groups. 

And finally, on Friday, a third vaccine (from Moderna) was approved for use in the UK. We probably won’t be using them until spring, but 17 million of them have been pre-ordered!

Mental health checkpoint: the news is constantly changing and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, especially at a critical time like this. It’s important to balance the information you’re taking in – avoid checking the news all the time and make sure to balance what information you’re taking in – include some positive news in your reading too! 

You can sign up to receive weekly updates from us in the future at the bottom of this page, have a lovely weekend! 

Written by Alisha Mafaas
Youth Cabinet Member for Crawley and Secretary

Find out more about the West Sussex Youth Cabinet

Read more blogs from West Sussex Youth Cabinet

Categories: News, Youth Cabinet

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