As the Prime Minister said this week, the coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced for decades – and this country is not alone.
I know that local people are anxious about the temporary changes to which we are adjusting. We are beset by the bewildering pace of Government communications and the sometimes confusing reporting of it.
Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses.
And as we have seen elsewhere, in other countries that also have fantastic health care systems, that is the moment of real danger.
That is why the Prime Minister has given the country a very simple instruction: you must stay at home. People are now only allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:
- shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
- one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household;
- any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
- travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
You can find the Prime Minister’s recent address to the nation in full here: https://bit.ly/PMCV25Mar20
You can always find authoritative information here:
- For health information and advice, read NHS pages on coronavirus: NHS.uk/coronavirus
- Learn about the full government response to coronavirus: gov.uk/coronavirus
- Find the UK coronavirus dashboard here: bit.ly/UKCOVID19Dashboard
These links and more can always be found here: https://bit.ly/SBCVinfo
Having served as a minister with cross-government preparedness responsibilities, I have been tremendously impressed with how officials, special advisers, ministers and our Prime Minister have reacted to and managed this crisis. We have seen the full resolve of the Government to secure public health and provide relief to businesses and individuals through the development and implementation of complex policy at an unprecedented pace in peacetime.
My team and I are currently in receipt of a large amount of communication, typically in waves after each major announcement. Given the volume of correspondence and the pace of events, it is increasingly impossible to provide responses of the timeliness and accuracy necessary. We will soon need to take a different approach, not least so that we can work proactively on my priorities:
- To support the Government, the NHS and Buckinghamshire Council in protecting public health and dealing effectively and compassionately with the increased mortality which sadly now is before us.
- To lead by example in the national voluntary effort to support public services, families and individuals. Please join me as an NHS Volunteer Responder here, in a scheme delivered by the Royal Voluntary Service: https://www.goodsamapp.org/nhs
- Through social media and correspondence, to represent institutions, businesses and individuals to government throughout the crisis management process and to refer the public to places where they can get help, typically online. Please see gov.uk/coronavirus.
I appreciate many of you do not have social media accounts and do not wish to acquire them. For you we will be increasing my coverage at www.stevebaker.info. Inevitably coverage here will be less comprehensive than on social media: social media platforms make it very easy and fast to share important information.
You can find my social media presence here:
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/SteveBakerHW (You do not need an account)
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SteveBakerWycombe/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sjbakerhw/
We have difficult days ahead. Like everyone else, I will be staying at home, working, and leaving only for the prescribed purposes. If we all comply, we will protect the NHS and save lives. We cannot afford as a society to do otherwise.
Finally, I can offer you two certainties. Our country has survived worse before prospering again. And we have in our Prime Minister the best possible leader to get us through and to restore our spirits when, in due time, we emerge from this temporary period of considerable difficulty.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do: Stay at home
- Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
- Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home
You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.