I have received many messages from constituents about the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the Government response.
It is understandably a stressful time and I share the concerns about the well-being of our vulnerable citizens as the virus is spreading. I absolutely agree it is of the utmost importance to keep safe those who are elderly and vulnerable.
COVID-19 is a new strain of the coronavirus. As it is a new illness, medical professionals do not know fully how it spreads from person to person.
On Thursday (12th) the Prime Minister made an important statement on the coronavirus outbreak, to report that the Government public health plan has moved from the contain phase to the delay phase. Furthermore, the UK Chief Medical Officers raised the risk to the UK from moderate to high. The situation is being followed closely with evidence-based decisions coming from our public health professionals.
The advice for everyone is:
- Wash your hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water.
- Make sure you cough or sneeze into a tissue, put it in a bin and wash your hands.
- If you shows the symptoms (of a high temperature or new, continuous cough) to self-isolate for 7 days.
It is essential that we all follow the NHS advice, available here.
I am aware that people have been buying stocks of food and essential items as a result of the growing fears over the spread of the illness. It is important that people shop responsibly and considerately. We must be aware that buying more than is needed may leave others who without. We need to work together as a society to prevent the spread of the illness as well as protect and support those who are most vulnerable.
The Government has provided advice regarding coronavirus in English, but so far this has not been translated into any other language. Given that 4 million people in the UK are non-native English speakers, it is essential that this information is provided so that everyone is kept informed of the latest advice. Last week, I questioned why the Government had not already taken the step to translate crucial advice into any language other than English and I will continue to raise this with the Secretary of State at every available point. As Urdu is my native language, I decided to make a video of the latest coronavirus advice in Urdu which you can view here.
I can also share that Doctors of the World have helpfully provided additional language translations here.
I will continue to keep a very close eye on the situation and wherever possible, represent the needs of the vulnerable in our society.