In the UK, the Coronavirus pandemic has begun to change the way a lot of us go about our daily lives. Social distancing is being encouraged through the cancellation of mass gatherings, with some businesses also encouraging staff who can work from home to work from home.
The fast spread of the disease has caused many to panic-buy, leaving large numbers of shops with bare shelves. To reiterate what I wrote in last week’s article, the British Retail Consortium have advised against stockpiling, especially food items. Every effort is being made to maintain supply chains, therefore there is no need to worry about item shortages if stockpiling ceases.
I am urging you to please think before you buy. The most vulnerable in our society cannot afford to buy in bulk and many are being priced out of accessing essential items.
Groups of volunteers up and down the country, including here in Tameside, are organising mutual aid to support local community groups during the Coronavirus pandemic. If you would like to help, please go to the Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK website to find out more information.
It is essential that we look out for each other during this time of crisis, our elderly neighbours in particular. The risk posed to older people and those with pre-existing health conditions who contract the Coronavirus are great. We therefore need to do everything in our power to make sure that vulnerable people in self-isolation are comfortable, as well as limit the spread of the disease by following the advice of Public Health England.
To keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, we should wash our hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and maintain good general hygiene.
The symptoms of Coronavirus are fever and tiredness, a continuous cough and breathing difficulties. If you have these symptoms yourself, phone 111. Do not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital. You should also stay at home for seven days and if your symptoms get worse or are no better after seven days, seek medical advice.
There is no denying that these are uncertain times and people need reassurance. This is why I am calling on the government to provide more support to businesses and people who are required to self-isolate. People should not have to make the impossible decision between self-isolation and earning a wage on which to live.
Cost should not come before health, and I want the government to make this clear in the plans it commits to going forward.