The Coronavirus scourge that is rampaging across the globe is now causing increasing disruption across the UK, as normal life is increasingly suspended, including politics. Venues are closed. Meetings are cancelled.
As people self-isolate and socially distance and we move towards more general isolation, it is important that we help stop the spread of coronavirus whilst supporting each other, particularly the elderly and vulnerable and those self-isolating. Isolation and loneliness have been growing issues amongst the elderly for some time. It is important that we are vigilant and look out for them and their mental health while they isolate. Equally, we need to protect them from disreputable people who are already seeking to exploit the elderly and vulnerable. West Mercia Police: Scam callers targeting elderly and vulnerable
Last week at work I spent the whole week preparing our systems for our key workers to work from home. The most recent government advice on social-distancing and self-isolation meant an accelerating of planned changes at work. As a result, this week key staff are now working from home.
With increased home working there will be increased pressure on the internet. YouTube and Netflix have just throttled back their services to make sure the internet doesn’t collapse. Collapsing the internet is no mean feat when you consider it was designed to survive a nuclear war. The internet is a critical service now more than ever. We can’t afford for it to collapse. For those of us who have campaigned for better internet speeds for decades, to enable a diverse economy in rural areas, this news is particularly worrying. As the government pumps billions into the economy to protect jobs, businesses and our way of life, they also need to inject much more into building internet capacity in rural areas. Rural businesses and remote workers are going to need it. People are going to need it at home as more and more services shift online.
Social distancing works
As an Asthma sufferer who has the flu jab, I am in an at-risk group so I am following government advice and socially distancing myself. I have had the flu jab since the Millenium when I spent the last week of 1999 and the first week of 2000 in the Princess Royal Hospital after flu brought on a severe chest infection which developed into pneumonia. Not an experience I wish to repeat.
If we all do what we can to socially distance ourselves, it slows the rate the Coronavirus spreads. This takes the pressure off the NHS which has largely been at breaking point for ages. It also buys us all time for a vaccine to be found and mass vaccination to happen. It is frustrating but the number of elderly and vulnerable people exposed to the risk of death is vastly reduced.
Canvassing and social events suspended
The liberal democrats cancelled their Spring Conference. As a constituency party, we suspended canvassing a few days ago. Closely followed by the decision to cancel social events until further notice. On Monday we took the decision to abort the latest round of Focus leaflets.
Leaflets were ready to be sent to the printers. The escalating Coronavirus situation meant these were edited, re-edited and re-edited. Such has been the pace of change, it has been impossible to keep up and remain accurate. This is frustrating as much because we wanted to continue to support our printer while their other trade was collapsing.
I had 3 versions about to go to print. These are included below in case you want to read some non-coronavirus news:
In the absence of delivered newsletters, while I am socially distancing myself, there will be more updates on this website and on my Facebook page.
Given the pace of change I will be sending out email updates on Coronavirus and other matters of interest – If you want to subscribe to these updates please fill in the form below:
Coronavirus represents a huge threat to society. This can not be emphasized enough. So it important that we all follow government advice and protect ourselves and society from the spread of this pandemic as much as possible. That doesn’t mean we should panic. We definitely shouldn’t panic buy. There is enough to go around. We should just be sensible, come together as a community and help each other.
Life as we knew it…
It is important that we try to keep things as normal as possible while we combat Coronavirus. During this time life will carry on as far as it can… Just not the life as we knew it. Dealing with Coronavirus will bring permanent changes to how society functions. For example, many people won’t want to give up working from home once they get used to it.
Important issues still are happening despite Coronavirus dominating everything, as it rightly should. Issues like potholes and flooding remain unresolved. Issues that could easily be forgotten in the viral news storm. Coronavirus is going to dominate for months to come. 18 months has been mentioned in some quarters. Coronavirus will certainly dominate 2020.
It will be important that democracy is protected during this time; that accountability remains important; and that the new normal works for us as far as it can. Elections have been postponed for a year and the government’s Corona Bill proposes to suspend due process for two years, without checks and balances or a sunset clause. It is far better to have a rolling review of the Corona Bill every three months with a defined sunset when the powers expire. We need to make sure life returns to normal after the threat is over. Financially, the cost of dealing with Coronavirus will be huge for the economy and it may well take a decade to recover.