First and foremost, I want to thank all those key workers in our NHS, schools, and councils; our care workers, supermarket staff and food retailers and all those in other sectors who have continued working over recent weeks. Since the lockdown was imposed, communities throughout Rugby and Bulkington have come together to support one another. I know that this spirit will endure through the coming weeks as we continue to live with the coronavirus outbreak.
This week, the Government has taken the first steps to set out how we move forward from the lockdown. This will not be a quick or easy task – there remains significant risk of transmission of the virus through the population and we must continue to ensure that we protect the most vulnerable and the NHS from future outbreaks. However, with the time we have bought through the lockdown, the Government has been able to develop a plan to start the process of lifting some of these restrictions in a careful manner.
We must maintain the social distancing which has been at the core of the strategy to combat coronavirus. Those who are able to work from home should continue to do so. Those who cannot work from home should return to work, but employers must follow the guidance which has been published by the Government and Public Health England on Covid secure workplaces. Parliament has already returned using a novel “hybrid Parliament” approach to enable MPs to continue to scrutinise the Government and pass legislation necessary to steer us through the coming months. However, people are advised to avoid public transport if possible and to instead walk, cycle or use their own cars.
If the transmission of coronavirus continues to fall, then over the coming weeks it may be possible to reopen wider sections of society and the economy, including non-essential retail and enabling some pupils to return to school. However, these steps will be informed by the success in continuing to control the spread of the virus. As such, it is vital that we continue to practice social distancing from anyone not within our own household.
In order to inform our next steps, the Government has established a new Joint Biosecurity Centre which will monitor the spread of Covid-19 and inform our response at both a local and national level. This will take the form of an Alert Level ranked between 1 and 5 – with 1 being Covid-19 has been eliminated from the UK, and 5 being an epidemic threatening to overwhelm the NHS. Thanks to the swift action taken in March, we have avoided the NHS being overwhelmed and are beginning to move from Level 4 towards Level 3.
I know that the past six weeks have proved incredibly challenging but as I knew they would, the people of Rugby and Bulkington have come together. It is now clear that coronavirus will be with us for the foreseeable future. To help ensure that residents know what is and is not permitted, the Government have produced a guide to common questions which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do#public-spaces--outdoor-activities--exercise.
I would also urge all residents to contact me at any time on firstname.lastname@example.org if they have and questions or concerns.