Our community faces a serious challenge from the Coronavirus outbreak, and I am writing to discuss this with you and to update you at this difficult time.
I fully support the measures to try to reduce the spread of the virus, to protect the NHS and to save lives. However, I would have liked the Government to have acted much earlier and more decisively.
Ministers also need to do more to improve the effectiveness of social distancing, such as shutting most building sites.
Like the rest of our community, I am working from home and following the other rules during the lock down. I realise that these measures may need explaining in more detail, such as making it clear how frequently residents should shop or how best to help vulnerable family members.
Coping with this change
Instituting social distancing is a huge change and many people may need more help and support at this difficult time.
For example, it can be difficult for parents to look after children and to work from home and educate their children at the same time. And, there are many other effects of school closures.
I am asking residents to let me know how school closures affect them and their family and I would be grateful if you could complete this survey. I have also been asking the Government to do more to help parents and young people and I want to continue to raise this important issue.
Effect on workers and local businesses
I am concerned about people’s incomes and I want to help local businesses.
The Government has not done enough to help self-employed people and I am calling for urgent action, please sign my petition to help me raise this with Ministers.
However, I was pleased that the Government has now listened to calls to support employees and pay 80% of wages where people are unable to work because of the outbreak. Loans and grants to businesses should help, although I would like these to be easier to access.
Protecting NHS workers
I want to pay tribute to the NHS, but it is vital that staff have proper protection. I am concerned that the Government has not followed World Health Organisation advice on the level of equipment needed. Doctors, nurses and other medical and care staff are being issued with aprons and short gloves, rather than full gowns, long gloves and visors.
I am calling on the Government to rethink their approach.
Thank you for your help and support for the NHS and our community at this difficult time. I would like to particularly thank all NHS staff, care workers and key workers, including staff in public services, shops and transport, volunteers and the many others who are going above and beyond what is expected to help.
Please email me on email@example.com if you would like to discuss the Coronavirus outbreak in more detail or have another issue you would like to raise.
Matt Rodda, MP for Reading East