The Leader of Bradford Council has called for a joint effort to defeat the coronavirus pandemic.
Coun Susan Hinchcliffe said: “It’s with real sadness that I see that some people are using the local restrictions around COVID to promote division and disharmony. Let’s not play the blame game in the Bradford district. We’re better than that.
The virus hits those people in poverty most, those people who live in densely populated urban areas, people who are on zero hours contracts who have to go out to work every day, those elderly people who are being cared for by their relatives in their own house. These are not people to blame, they are people we should be thanking as key workers, as people who have served the district well and as people who keep the district going now.
“Some people, including some politicians, are using the new regulations as a political football. Politicians who do this are wrong and irresponsible. We are interconnected as a place, we don’t live our lives neatly inside ward or constituency boundaries, neither should we.
“At a time of national crisis we have to stick together and protect each other. We can criticise all we like but the regulations are necessary and are designed to keep us safe. We must follow them.
“Our Muslim community has shown great fortitude throughout this period. They are amongst those who have been most impacted by the lockdown. During Eid ul Fitr in May they stayed at home, without going to the Mosque for prayers.
“Just two hours before Eid ul Adha, which is as important to the Muslim faith as Christmas is to Christianity, they were told by Government their celebrations would be spoiled. They have shown great dignity in their response to this today and I thank them for this. I want to wish the Muslim community Eid Mubarak. The work you do to support all communities all year round is noted and appreciated.
“These regulations are challenging for all of us, and the timing of the announcement was unexpected, but Government are right to bring them in and we need to follow them to prevent a local lockdown and to protect each other from illness and worse.
“Let’s not forget that the group most affected by Coronavirus is actually our elderly of all communities. Seventy four per cent of deaths nationally have been amongst the 75+ age group. And it is the elderly of all communities who we have tragically lost. We don’t want to lose anymore.
“Just a few weeks’ ago we remarked on the wonderful coming-together of the whole district as we joined in clapping our NHS and care workers.
“Our forefathers during national crises of war stuck together, united in battling common enemies. We can’t see this enemy this time but it is all around us wherever we are in the district. To fight it we must retain that spirit of togetherness. Beating the virus is a joint effort, alone we can achieve nothing.”