MP View 29th July 2020

This week, thousands of British people will be watching, in dismay, as their summer holiday plans crumble to dust. The quarantine rules on Spain have changed rapidly over the weekend and this has raised the question of what country will be next? Or to put it another way, who else’s holiday plans will be destroyed?

The Spanish problem serves to demonstrate that we are a long, long way from this crisis being over. We have seen spikes in Evesham and Herefordshire and we will see spikes popping up for some time to come.

The issue is that CV-19 is a highly contagious, fast spreading disease. It takes very little for it to transmit. One of the positive outcomes of all this (albeit a tiny positive) is that many have escaped the common cold this winter. But it is worth thinking of CV-19 as a common cold with devastating effects – after all, we must not forget that nearly 46,000 people have lost their lives from this, and many more have been affected by it.

So, the government must react to all the factors that spread it and result in worse outcomes for patients. That is why we are seeing the campaign against obesity and continued measures to try to help people become, and stay, healthy. Whilst this is mainly about CV-19, it’s not an unreasonable ask from the government. After all, all of us as taxpayers pick up the bill for illnesses related to lifestyle choices and it would be odd if the NHS didn’t, at least, offer advice about how to avoid being ill.

In this time of crisis, it is the right thing to do to follow government advice. The government doesn’t have all the perfect answers, but it does have all the experts (and some others, too). So as we reduce the distancing to 1 metre, the right thing to do is to wear a facemask in shops. It is not for you, the customer, to be protected: it is for all around you – especially those people who work, at significant personal risk, to make sure you get fed.

This is so important. There are huge numbers of key workers at risk, and we owe it to them to follow guidelines for their sake. If they are all like the care home worker I met last week, then they are all the most brilliant people, unselfishly putting themselves at risk, their lives on hold, for no other reason than to help the rest of us.