This week I attended the latest statement by the Health Secretary on Coronavirus: there will, I fear, be many more. It is the most serious public health emergency that we have faced for a generation.
The actions of Public Health England and the NHS have already been exemplary. During the initial phase the tracing of individuals in contact with those who have been infected has been highly effective.
These actions have slowed the spread of the virus in the UK. They are one of the reasons why the UK is currently behind the rates of infection elsewhere in Europe. Sadly this does not mean that we will escape the same level of infection that is currently being felt on the Continent but it has bought us more time (at a point when the NHS tends to face high demand).
Despite having fewer cases we have already tested more people than any European country bar Italy and are massively upscaling our ability to conduct more (and better) tests. We have increased the supply of ventilators and British companies are rising to the challenge to manufacture the supplies we need.
Our plan has two objectives:
- To protect the NHS by continuing to increase the resources it needs to tackle the virus and by flattening the curve of infection over time, maximising its ability to help our people.
- To protect life by safeguarding those who are most vulnerable.
To achieve this we will do the right thing at the right time, based on the best medical advice.
We will be asking people to take difficult steps to protect themselves and help others. We are doing so because these steps are necessary to safeguard the health of vulnerable people and to reduce the spread of the virus.
Advice will be updated regularly as this evolves. The link to Government information on Coronavirus is below:
it is also available from my website (www.jeremyquin.com).
Please do refer to the Government website above for regularly updated information.
We are asking everyone to reduce their social contact and people with specific medical conditions will be asked shortly to take further steps to shield themselves from the virus.
Those in self-isolation because they have the symptoms or are being shielded are being urged to stay at home and have necessities delivered to them by family and friends.
Across the area people are volunteering to help. The Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/groups/HorshamSelfIsolation/ at the time of writing has nearly 3,000 volunteers and is one of many hugely helpful initiatives.
We also need those who are vulnerable to help: by taking seriously Government advice aimed at protecting them and thinking ahead as to whom they can turn for help if needed (including the community groups that are being created to do just that).
Schools remain open for now as that is the best advice being provided by the medical experts. There are many good reasons why this is the case though this advice will of course be kept under review as the situation evolves.
Coronavirus is a huge challenge. I know many will be very concerned. However we will get through this and will do so by not only the Government but all of us implementing effectively and rapidly the medical advice on containing and tackling the virus.