Given the current position with Coronavirus I wanted to use this week’s column to address the issue and give you the best possible update I can, based on the scientific and medical advice being issued.
The first thing to say is that if you find yourself with a new persistent dry cough and/or a high temperature then you need to isolate yourself for a minimum of 7 days to stop the spread of this virus – please do not visit your GP, hospital or pharmacy. If, during these 7 days, you struggle to control your symptoms or they get worse then at this point use the NHS Coronavirus 111 service by going to 111.nhs.uk/covid-19/ or calling the NHS 111 phoneline.
Whilst many who contract COVID-19 will fully recover after the 7 day period we need to halt the spread as best as we can because of the real threat this virus poses. This is particularly the case for the over 70s, pregnant women and those with long-term medical conditions.
That’s why if anybody in your household develops symptoms you too will need to self-isolate for 14 days.
I understand this is a huge change to how we live our lives and it will be difficult, but at this crucial time everybody must follow the advice of the medical profession to stop this virus spreading. That means social gatherings are to be avoided, including visiting pubs, clubs, restaurants, cinemas and gyms. Anybody who can work from home needs to do so with immediate effect. That said, if you are unable to work from home due to your work, and you are healthy, you can continue to do so.
I know this is going to cause major disruption. So during last week’s Budget and this week the Chancellor announced a multi-billion pound package to help deal with the pandemic, including £5 Billion extra for the NHS to support the increased demand that will be placed upon it, and hundreds of billions of pounds for individuals who need to go off sick and the businesses impacted as a result.
These are very difficult times for us all but if we work together then I am confident we will come through it.
Locally I am working in conjunction with Burnley Council, LCC and the 3rd sector to coordinate efforts to help anybody who is self-isolating get the food and supplies they need. If you would like to volunteer to help with this you can do so at www.antonyhig.co.uk/coronavirus. This section of my website will also be updated frequently to include the latest Government advice and guidance.
Finally, the way I work in the constituency will also have to alter and I will no longer be running face to face surgeries or accepting walk-ins at my office - instead conducting telephone surgeries for urgent cases.
I would urge you all to take the Governments advice seriously and keep up to date with what is an evolving situation.