Hemel Hempstead MP praises the town's community upon Covid lockdown anniversary
Tomorrow marks a year since the Prime Minister announced the first national lockdown
The MP for Hemel Hempstead has praised everyone who has played their part in their fight against coronavirus, from front-line workers to vaccination volunteers.
Tomorrow (March 23) marks one year since Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that everyone across the UK was to stay at home for the first time, as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the nation.
Since then, our lives have changed and many families across the country have lost loves ones to the virus.
People are being encouraged to observe a one-minute silence to show silent support and solidarity for the millions of people who have been affected across the world during the past year.
In Dacorum, 8,359 people had tested positive for Covid-19 and the borough had recorded 318 deaths - within 28 days of the first positive coronavirus test - by the morning of March 21, according to Public Health England.
Sir Mike Penning said: "Just over 12 months ago, no one outside the scientific arena had heard of Covid-19. Yet one year on and this virus has destroyed lives, families, jobs and communities.
"Many of our loved ones have been taken away from us. So many have lost their jobs and the nation is in the greatest financial debt crisis since World War 2.
"But just as before, when the country has faced such a blight, the people have come together. No, we won’t agree on every measure that has been taken and hindsight is a wonderful virtue, but when we have needed volunteers those volunteers have come forward in ever increasing numbers from all parts of society.
"From retired medics bringing their skills back to the front line, to retired bank managers helping to run car parks at vaccination centres or clerical assistants retraining to be vaccinators.
"All this effort has enabled nearly half the adult population of the UK to be protected from Covid.
"So many people have played their part in protecting the NHS.
"Those who have worked from home when they would never have thought it possible to do so.
"Mums, dads and grandparents who suddenly overnight became home tutors, and, of course, those millions of front-line workers who day in and day out kept the country going.
"As we hopefully come out of these life-changing experiences, experiences that we all hope we will never go through again, let us pause for a moment and think of those we have lost over the last twelve months."
In Dacorum, NHS data shows 51,590 people had received a vaccine jab by March 14 – equating to 42 per cent of those aged 16 and over, according to the latest population estimates from the Office for National Statistics.