ANNE-MARIE TREVELYAN: This is a huge test for our communities but it is one we will face together

I am writing this column on the final day of schools being open for most children, as our nation heads towards an uncertain time.

Thursday, 26th March 2020, 12:00 am
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus.

The Coronavirus is beatable if we all play our part. For most people, it will be a mild illness or they will have no symptoms at all. However, for those most at risk – the over 70s, pregnant women and those with existing medical issues – it could be much more serious. We need to keep NHS resources free for those people. If you think you may have the virus (if you have a new, continuous cough or a fever) please stay at home for at least seven days, and if you live with others, the whole household must stay home for 14 days. You should only call 111 if you cannot manage your symptoms without medical help. This is vital for those most at risk. We can all play our part by not socialising, and keeping at least two metres from others. Most important is to kill the virus by washing our hands. The more we do all of these things, the faster we will beat it. These coming weeks will be tough for us all. They will involve sacrifices. We must all make them in order to help the NHS and our whole communities. This is a huge test for our communities but it is one we will face together.

As well as introducing legislation to help us to deal with this virus, we are also relaxing certain rules to help us to cope. For example, pubs and restaurants can now become hot food takeaways without needing to seek permission. Please do contact your local pub or restaurant to see if you can order food from them in order to support them.

I know this is a really tough time for businesses. The Chancellor has already announced a huge package of measures worth £330billion with more measures due to be brought in. There is a new Coronavirus section on my website with all the relevant information for businesses, including the Government helplines. Once the measures are ready to go live, all the information will be on my website too. I know parents will find it tough to keep the children occupied. I have added a wealth of play and educational resources to my website to hopefully help with that.

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The supermarkets are playing their part in making sure people are only able to buy the food they need, keeping our shelves stocked, prioritising shopping hours and delivery slots for those most at-risk and many are hiring extra staff from industries that are suffering. The Government has relaxed the rules to allow many more delivery slots to be created. We must play our part as shoppers by only buying what we need so the shelves are not bare for those at risk, and those who are battling this virus on the frontline.

I am sending email updates on the situation with all the latest news and links to the Government advice which you can sign up to receive on my website or by emailing me. My team remains on hand to help anyone who needs it.