With an increasing number of coronavirus cases being reported in West Yorkshire, I urge all my constituents to take precautions to protect themselves and the vulnerable people they interact with.
On Thursday 12th March, the Government announced they were moving from the contain phase to the delay phase. Whilst the contain phase focused on limiting the spread of the virus, the delay phase is focused on reducing the amount of people ill at the same time; a huge spike in cases would overstrain the NHS.
Much of the advice from the previous phase remains relevant: wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, use a tissue for coughs and self-isolate if you experience symptoms of the virus, namely a dry cough fever and breathing difficulties. It may well be wise to avoid large gatherings and, if you are particularly at risk because of age or underlying health conditions, avoid leaving the house if you can help it.
Do be looking out for each other and supporting your neighbours who are more at risk, perhaps by offering to go shopping for them or by phoning them if they are self-isolating and potentially lonely. I have great faith that we will pull together as a community and get through the worst of this, however long it takes.
Whilst I have unfortunately had to postpone advice services and surgeries, I will continue to monitor my email, so do get in contact with me at firstname.lastname@example.org if I can be of any help at this time – or if you need simply pointing in the direction of the right services.
I have pulled together some information and support links below.
Diagnosis and self-isolating
The NHS are no longer testing everyone with coronavirus symptoms. The current advice, if you suspect you have the virus, is to self-isolate (do not go to a GP surgery or a hospital). Phone the NHS helpline service (111) if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, your condition gets worse or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days.
Advice on how to protect your mental health when self-isolating can be found here.
If you have any of the symptoms, do not go into work. The Prime Minister has stated that workers will get statutory sick pay from the first day off work, not the fourth, to support people who have to self-isolate. Citizens Advice has more information on making claims.
If you currently receive Universal Credit or may need to make a claim as a result of not being able to work, please see the Department for Work and Pensions information here. The page also includes information about sick pay for gig workers and the support available for businesses and employers.
Information about the current number of cases and the Government’s response can be found here.
I know many people want to help others at this difficult time. Whilst you might not be able to visit someone who is self-isolating, you could offer to leave groceries on their doorstep, buy them medicines, post their letters or phone them to chat.
I was impressed by this template, which you can print, fill out and drop through neighbours doors as an offer of help.
Here is a site which allows you to set up local support groups to coordinate volunteers and a local response to coronavirus. �v