This global pandemic is spreading quickly and has made its way into our community. We know the numbers are rising and it is obviously causing huge concern.
Yesterday the Prime Minister gave a press conference alongside the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Advisor, setting out the UK’s approach. If you did not see it, I would encourage you to watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRadMzCKnCU.
This is not a party political issue and we are all working with the government to help the country through this, but we are also scrutinizing the Government’s plans. As Chair of the Petitions Committee, I am working to set up a special session with ministers and experts to answer the questions you have and will share details of this shortly.
The latest NHS advice is available here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
The key guidance is to stay at home and self isolate if you have:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital to avoid spreading the virus, but follow the guidance issued by the NHS on the link above.
This is a new virus and we do not yet know exactly how it spreads. However, the experts do believe that older people and people with underlying health conditions may be more susceptible to complications and should take additional precautions. Further guidance for elderly people is expected shortly and I will be pressing for this to come as soon as possible, but for now, if you are unwell you should take swift action as recommended by the NHS and the Government to avoid passing it on.
From the evidence available so far, we know that to catch the virus you need to be in very close proximity of someone with the virus for 15 minutes or when they sneeze. The best way to avoid passing on the virus ourselves is to catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue, throw it away and wash our hands. In order to protect ourselves from the virus, use soap or if necessary hand sanitiser regularly and wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, especially after using public transport, but whenever you enter a new place or arrive home. You should also avoid touching your face and mouth.
For those with travel plans, the latest government advice is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus
I want to extend my thanks to everyone who continues to work in our NHS and public services at what is clearly a challenging time and pledge my support to do all I can to support you, and our community, through the weeks ahead.