At school I remember reading a poem which harked back over how each generation had risen to the challenges facing Britain over the centuries and plaintively asked “Can England still muster such champions to guard her?” The poem, written in 1912, questioned, as it turned out absurdly, the commitment of that generation which was shortly to volunteer to serve their country by the million.
In every generation there are those who ask the same question. It should not be asked again. The dedication of people who are stepping up or stepping back into the frontline is deeply moving. It shows what people are prepared to do.
20,000 medics have now returned to the NHS, 750,000 have volunteered to help others in their community.
Across the Government a vast range of tasks are being undertaken which would never be contemplated in “ordinary times” and everyone rises to the challenge – as I am seeing daily in the actions of the Armed Services and broader MOD.
We are also proving adaptable. London’s Nightingale Hospital is being rapidly developed and is the model for others. Business has come forward with a raft of innovative solutions to design, perfect and manufacture additional ventilators and other key equipment in real time. Covid has achieved the apparently impossible with UK based rival Formula 1 technical teams pooling resources to innovate together – to great effect. Distillers have even transformed their alcohol production lines to produce hand sanitiser!
Critically there are teams racing in the UK – and around the world – to secure the vaccine we need.
During the week 1.5million people across the country who are most vulnerable received a letter from the NHS urging them to “shield” themselves and setting out what is available to help them. I really would urge all those who received the letter to please act on it.
For those who have not received a letter but who are vulnerable and need assistance to continue to self—isolate please do visit Horsham District Council’s website (if you are an HDC resident) to record your details. Wherever you are, please be aware that, as the National response has shown in so many ways, we are a community. Please don’t hesitate to ask your friends and neighbours for help.
Longer term help is on its way but solutions on a street by street, village by village level are providing a huge amount of practical support.
Our one focus is on saving lives and protecting the NHS. There is a huge focus across Government on ramping up the tools we need to fight the pandemic – ICU beds, personal protective equipment, testing, ventilators, vaccine research.
What we can all do is clear – follow the NHS guidance. We have all got a role to play: leaving home only to shop for essentials, for a daily exercise, for medical appointments and to attend work if it is not possible to work from home. Maintaining social distance at all times. This is draconian advice, no one likes it, but it will save lives.