As easing of Lockdown continues, I thought it was important to share some of the current UK COVID-19 statistics. From just 2,000 tests per day in March we now have the capacity to conduct over 300,000 tests per day – with 311,113 tests available on 6th July 2020. Our testing rate is now among the best in the world, equivalent to one test for every ten people in the country – and is outpacing countries such as Germany, Spain, Italy, and the USA.

The daily number of people who are sadly dying from COVID-19 is down from a peak of 945 on 14th April 2020 to 87 on 7th July 2020 (seven day rolling average). Number of ventilator beds occupied down from a peak of 3,301 on 12th April 2020 to 197 on 7th July 2020. Over 2.1 billion items of PPE delivered since the start of the outbreak. Seven Nightingale hospitals have been created. Hospital admissions are down from 3,432 on 1st April 2020 to 319 on 25th June 2020. Over 2 million testing kits delivered to almost 9,000 care homes. These are truly incredible figures, not least because four months ago it was inconceivable that we would be having this conversation. It shows you that the efforts and sacrifices that we have all made are working.

My focus on “Jobs, jobs, jobs” continues and I have spent the last couple of weeks supporting and visiting our local businesses and our High Streets which have been hit hard. I also had my regular meeting with the Black Country All Party Parliamentary Group to discuss our local economic recovery and what we need to do to facilitate it. Throughout the coronavirus crisis, the Government have put in place a £160 billion plan to protect peoples’ jobs, incomes and businesses – one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world.

I was very pleased to visit Withymoor Primary school last week to see the excellent work the Headmistress and her staff are doing. It was good to see children back with their teachers and their friends - it is so important for children’s’ education and their wellbeing. I hope to see all children back in school as soon as possible.

As you will know, on 14th July each year, we raise the Black Country flag to celebrate Black Country Day. I had the great pleasure of visiting Mary Stevens Hospice in honour of this as they launched their Black Country Monopoly board game - all proceeds of its sale will go to the hospice. The Hospice is one of the jewels in the crown of this constituency and I want to thank the staff and volunteers for their time and dedication, demonstrated by their Outstanding CQC rating.

Coronavirus is the biggest challenge we have faced in decades, I hope one day it will be confined to history, but even when it is, it will always remind us of the huge debt of gratitude we owe the brilliant NHS and care staff, not just in this constituency but across the country.