South Holland and the Deepings MP Sir John Hayes: Encouraging to see acts of kindness
In all we say and do in the shared endeavour to overcome what coronavirus brings; we must be guided by this certainty – through history, whatever the trial, our nation has always prevailed.
Nevertheless, the threat posed by this virus must not be underestimated. As the Prime Minister said - many more families will lose loved ones before the crisis is over. During relentless media coverage, we must not become desensitised to the tragedy of untimely death from all kinds of illness. Those who pass away are not merely statistics, but special, loved individuals.
During this threat to our established way of life, those in positions of authority must strike a balance, neither underreacting nor overreacting. Thankfully, the Government is doing all it can to devise and deliver a proportionate and effective response.
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Last week, the Secretary of State for Health announced detailed legal powers to bolster our public health system against coronavirus, building capacity for widespread testing and securing vital new equipment which will increase the NHS’s ability to respond appropriately. In addition, clinicians in both primary and secondary care have received world-leading advice, covering detection and investigation of possible cases, infection prevention and clinical diagnostics. The Government has also provided £20 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness to produce a vaccine to combat coronavirus.
Local firms deserve help too and, in announcing £330 billion worth of economic support for those whose livelihoods are threatened by uncertainty, the Chancellor promised to do everything necessary to support small and medium businesses, the self-employed and those in hardest hit economic sectors. This includes grant funding, business rate holidays and interest free loans.
As we begin ‘social distancing’, the Prime Minister has been steadfast in his determination to be guided by advice from medical experts. However, whilst authoritative guidance is essential, it will fall to each of us to behave with self-discipline and compassion, supporting and protecting our most vulnerable neighbours.
Which is why scenes of irresponsible people exercising cheek by jowl in a public park and others cavorting at the seaside were so disturbing – It’s hard to know whether such types are selfish, stupid or both.
If we behave sensibly, local food shortages can be averted. After all, two thirds of this nation’s fresh produce is grown in our area. Those who foolishly ‘panic buy’ large quantities of goods that they do not require now, make it more difficult for the least well off to get what they need.
Our immediate priority in challenging times must be those whose struggle is likely to be greatest. Principally, that means the elderly or those with specific medical conditions who have been advised to self-isolate for their own good. Not only must we meet their material needs – providing food stuffs and medicines, but also counter the loneliness that isolation is bound to bring.
It is so encouraging to see neighbours checking in on others, shopping, collect prescriptions or simply have a friendly chat on the phone. The scores of volunteers in the local Covid Kindness Team are making a huge difference. Thank you.
In the same vein, a group of local food firms are doing so much good. The superb Fresh Produce Network of 15 local businesses are delivering much need foodstuffs to local care homes – they are a great team doing great work. Similarly, respected local businesses George Adams and Paceys are making a huge difference by combing to help those who are housebound.
In extraordinary times, two things are needed most– strong leadership and community solidarity. For my own part, aside from journeys to Westminster which representing you necessitate, I am staying here in South Holland and The Deepings, where with my excellent team, I will continue to provide support, advice and assistance to all who need it.
As the energy, kindness and resolve which has always seen the British people win through forms the foundation of our national response, we will not only cope in these testing times, but flourish as we emerge from them.
More by this authorVictoria Fear