The Government yesterday announced a significant escalation of measures to fight the Coronavirus.
Please follow the Public Health England website for the specifics of these: https://www.gov.uk/gove…/organisations/public-health-england
I do not want to post them here directly because as they change the post becomes out of date and can provide inaccurate information.
It is clear that these actions will change the lives of everyone in the country.
Over the weekend I was able to speak to lots of people, especially in Stalybridge Tesco, and I appreciate how stoic and calm most people are. PLEASE can people who are panic buying desist however. There is really no need to stockpile toilet roll or pasta. We need to look out for each other as well as ourselves.
We also need to help out vulnerable neighbours out, without contact, however possible.
I know they are many questions about Government policy. As an Opposition, we are asking these because we want the national effort against Coronavirus to succeed. The Government has said it welcomes this scrutiny, which is surely right.
Specifically, some of the key issues we have raised are:
- Why are some people not being tested who need a test? The Secretary of State (SoS) said today that testing is effectively being rationed to those seen as being at the most risk. However he also said we do not yet have a test which reveals if someone has had the virus and then become immune to it, rather than if they have it currently. We also don’t have a bedside test, as opposed to a one done in lab.
- Why is our strategy different to other countries? The SoS said this was down to different countries being at different stages.
- How can people who do not qualify for statutory sick pay self-isolate without becoming destitute? There are still no adequate answers here. The Government will have to come forward with more proposals.
- Will schools close? The SoS said they currently believe closing schools would be counterproductive, as grandparents would inevitably step in to help with childcare. This seems fair to me but for families where there is a member at significant risk there surely needs to be flexibility in terms of fines etc.
- Why has the Government advised people to stay away from ‘pubs, cinemas, clubs and restaurants’ but not ordered a shutdown? This has massive implications for insurance claims. The Government will have to reconsider.
- Why was there conflicting report about the policy of ‘herd immunity’ over the weekend? The SoS dodged these. I have no idea why the communications strategy over the weekend operated the way it did.
The Government has also appealed to any manufacturer who might be able to make ventilators to come forward. If you are a local business who could help, please let me know.
The situation is clearly changing every day and I will keep you informed of everything happening here. You can also monitor the local and national situation here at the PHE dashboard: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html…