BARNSLEY Central MP Dan Jarvis has hit out against the government’s handling of lockdown after warning that ‘real harm’ has been done to the country by not following scientific advice.

The town was previously in tier three, the strictest of the country’s restrictions, before Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement last Saturday that the whole nation would be in lockdown until December 2.

The restrictions were put into place yesterday and Dan, who is also the Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, believes the delay of the lockdown could have ‘catastrophic consequences’.

He said: “We should not be in this position.

“The government’s own scientific advisors gave clear advice on the need for a lockdown almost six weeks ago, and warned that not acting immediately to reduce cases would have catastrophic consequences.

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“If that was not enough, there was a brutally clear lesson from the first wave about the cost of delay both in lives and economic damage.

“The government nonetheless chose not to accept this advice and real harm will have been done as a consequence.”

Throughout the past few months, Dan has requested more support for businesses across the borough and with the new restrictions now in place, he has urged them to not repeat the same mistakes of the last eight months.

“However, these restrictions are necessary to save lives and it is right that the government has finally acted,” he said.

“But now they have been announced, we must make them work, or the sacrifice we are being asked to make will be wasted - we must not repeat the mistakes of the past eight months.

“We need proper support to individuals, businesses and councils, so people can afford to follow the rules and not be driven into destitution if they become unemployed, so we minimise the harm to the economy, and so we can keep essential services running.”

Dan has previously called on the government to include metro mayors in decision-making, but admits that the success of the new lockdown measures ultimately lands on residents.

“I understand just how weary and frustrated many people will be, but the last lockdown was effective and this one can be as well - if we follow the rules.

“For the sake of our families, our communities, and our economy, for a chance of a relatively normal Christmas, we need everyone to do their part.

“If we squander this opportunity, we risk the country yo-yoing in and out of lockdown, amid a crumbling economy and overwhelmed NHS.”

From October 21 to October 27 there were 494 cases per 100,000 in the borough - the average area in England has just 149.

In that time there were a total of 1,219 cases, bringing the total of positive number of coronavirus cases in Barnsley to 6,610.