Jerome Mayhew MP: Community response is silver lining during crisis

PUBLISHED: 10:55 10 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:55 10 April 2020

Wroxham on lockdown during coronavirus pandemic. The Broads would normally be very busy during the Easter holidays, but not this year

Wroxham on lockdown during coronavirus pandemic. The Broads would normally be very busy during the Easter holidays, but not this year


MP for Broadland Jerome Mayhew provides an update on how Norfolk is dealing with the coronavirus crisis

If any further evidence was needed, the announcement that the prime minister has been moved to intensive care brings home the danger of Covid-19 to the whole country. My thoughts and prayers with him and his family, and also with every single person in ICU right now. This is not an illness confined to the old, it can affect every single one of us.

Every day that we delay the transmission of the virus to someone else gives an extra day to improve PPE deliveries to front line staff, to deliver food supplies for the vulnerable, to support businesses. We need to continue to follow government advice to stay at home except for the four exceptions:

Shopping for basic necessities;

One form of exercise a day;

Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and

Travelling to and from work, when you can’t work from home.

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Thanks to the overwhelming support of the public we have succeeded in delaying the likely peak of the pandemic for a further two weeks. If we keep on as we are doing, we will give the NHS across Norfolk the space it needs to deal with every emergency case in the best way possible. That could be you or your loved one.

Despite the illness of the prime minister, government goes on: there is a clear plan to manage the virus, led by the best scientific advice, and the early signs on new infection rates are showing that social isolation is working. Whilst the PM will be sorely missed government does not rely on one person – we have a great, stable, system of government with senior cabinet ministers and civil servants getting on with the job.

Here in Norfolk, local government, led by the Norfolk Resilience Forum, has planned to provide support to those in need. These plans are now working. One of the best aspects of our county’s response has been the way in which local government is supporting local groups rather than replacing them. It is the army of local volunteers, directed and supported by the planning and logistics of local government, that knows where the need is and has delivered effective support across Norfolk. Mistakes will be made, right now much more PPE is needed outside of hospitals, but overall, I am hugely encouraged by the results.

We should be proud of our councils, and all who work for them. They have thrown everything into supporting those in need right throughout this crisis. They have shown dynamism and leadership. The NHS continues to do a magnificent job, putting their patients first and themselves in harm’s way to care for the sick.

But not just the NHS. Care home workers and carers in the community are saving lives every day by helping to shield the elderly and provide beds for those released from acute hospitals. What an amazing job they are doing.

And other support teams: utility companies, delivery drivers, supermarket staff and, particularly, local community and village shops, often delivering to those most in need.

It all makes me feel so proud to be a part of this community.

This pandemic is a terrible thing, but if there is any silver lining, it has been the community’s response – we have all shown our determination that no-one in our towns and villages should be left to fend for themselves. What a wonderful place to live.

As the peak of infections passes, and it will, we will need a clear message of how we slowly reduce these restrictions to start a phased return to more normal life. But some things I hope will not return to normal: our care for our neighbours and our community spirit.

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