Last week’s Budget took strong action to ensure we are as prepared as we can be to face down the immediate threat from the coronavirus pandemic. It also set out a powerful vision for the kind of country that we seek to build for the long term. That long term vision will be all the more important given the gravity of the threat to the world economy, livelihoods and wellbeing posed by the pandemic.
Huge sums have been set aside to deal with coronavirus. Even more has been allocated in further action this week as the situation has become more serious. There is no doubt about it – this is the most serious public health threat we have faced for a long time. It’s so long since we have had a pandemic that it would be easy to think these are things that could never happen.
However, we have had epidemics and pandemics in the past, and together we will get through this crisis. Just as we did in times past. And by doing what we need to do from washing hands, keeping social distance and being particularly careful to protect elderly loved ones.
This week the COVID-19 virus and responses to it have been moving at great speed.
Scientists, the Government, Chief Medical teams across the globe, local government, social care and social services teams have been working flat out. The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has set out in the clearest terms what the Government’s goal and approach is.
He said: “We have a plan, based on the expertise of world-leading scientists. Herd immunity is not a part of it. That is a scientific concept, not a goal or a strategy. Our goal is to protect life from this virus, our strategy is to protect the most vulnerable and protect the NHS through contain, delay, research and mitigate.
“We are working through our clear action plan. Like all our decisions, the plan is based on the bedrock of the science, with maximum transparency. We will do the right thing at the right time, based on the best available science.
“To protect life, we must protect the vulnerable, and protect the NHS and flatten the curve.”
Our country has not been among the first to be stricken with the virus. That has given us valuable time to assess the experiences of other countries and to prepare our own response. I am setting out on my website detailed advice, guidance and answers to questions – please visit http://www.natalieelphicke.com. As more information becomes available I am adding it to my website.
I have often written about the strength of our community, the commitment of local people to each other. Now we will need that commitment, that strength and that togetherness. To not take unnecessary risks, to do what each and every one of us can to protect others as well as look after ourselves. At this time of national crisis we need to trust the expert scientists and the commitment of the Government to get us through it. I know that this is a time when many people will be fearful. Yet we must follow the advice we have been given.
Together we know we have the national, community and individual strength and resolve to beat the virus. And we will.