Coronavirus is a threat to everyone and presents our country with the biggest challenge since the end of the Second World War, says MP Nick Gibb.
The Conservative MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, pictured below, said: “Combatting the spread of the virus is taking a huge national effort. The actions and behaviour of every individual across the country are as important as the vital leadership and support that only the government and parliament can provide.
“This really is a time for us all to come together with a common commitment: to control the spread of the virus so that we can return to living our lives freely and the nation can get back to work.
“As individuals, we can slow the spread of the virus by staying at home and only going outside for food, health reasons or work (when this absolutely cannot be done from home); staying two metres away from other people and washing hands regularly.
“As the Prime Minister says, the key to beating coronavirus is to stay at home. This will mean we can stop its spread, protect the capacity of the NHS to deal with those of us who have contracted severe symptoms and save lives.
“Throughout this crisis, the government has been determined to make decisions based on the best scientific advice.
“Because we learn more about coronavirus every day, based on experience across the world, the advice we receive changes rapidly and so the government is having to make decisions at great speed. Policies which in normal times would take months to develop are having to be put in place in a matter of days or sometimes hours.
“As schools minister, I have been part of the team planning how to respond as the virus has spread. The decision to close schools, for all but the children of critical workers and the most vulnerable children, was difficult. But the scientific advice became clear: reducing the spread of the virus would be helped by stopping millions of children travelling to school each day.
“Within days we had to implement plans for school closures, announce that exams and SATs wouldn’t be held this year and develop ways to ensure pupils who would have been taking GCSEs, A-levels and other qualifications will be awarded grades as fairly as possible.
“Teachers and other staff in our schools have been truly heroic in the way they have responded to the crisis. As have the doctors and nurses, emergency workers, the millions of people who make sure we don’t run out of food, that our gas, electricity and water supplies are maintained, that we can all use the internet and many, many other workers engaged in essential tasks.
“The restrictions the government has put in place to help ensure we can control the virus have put huge pressure on businesses across the country.
“Overnight, many have closed and people who thought they had secure jobs have been laid off or their hours severely reduced. Other businesses have moved their operations from offices to the homes of each employee and now millions of us are relying on technology to work from home, while juggling the demands of family life including looking after the children.
“The measures the government has had to put in place have put a great strain on individuals and on the nation’s economic well-being.
“Over the past few days, I have been helping constituents get home from overseas and I know many elderly and vulnerable people have been struggling to get food and groceries delivered to their home. I’m glad that supermarkets are now urgently addressing this issue.
“The Chancellor is about to announce a package of support for the five million self-employed people to help them. As your MP, I am here to help with any problems you are facing as a result of the actions the government has taken to help combat Coronavirus. I am still holding surgeries (by telephone) and responding as swiftly possible to emails and letters.”
If I can help, please do get in touch.