I recognise that many of my constituents have concerns and are worried following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), but let me reassure you that the NHS is well prepared to deal with incidents like this, and I am assured that the Government has a clear path to ensure the public is protected.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has announced strengthened legal powers to bolster public health protections against coronavirus. The regulations have been put in place to reduce the risk of further human-to-human transmission in this country by keeping individuals in isolation where public health professionals believe there is a reasonable risk an individual may have the virus.
The UK is one of the first countries to have developed a world-leading test for the new coronavirus, and the NHS is ready to respond appropriately to any cases that emerge.
Clinicians in both primary and secondary care have already received advice, covering initial detection and investigation of possible cases, infection prevention and control, and clinical diagnostics. The Government has also provided £20 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to produce a vaccine to combat coronavirus.
UK aid to the World Health Organisation (WHO) will help prevent the spread of the virus in developing countries, by supporting them to rapidly identify and care for patients with symptoms. Additional experts funded by UK aid will be deployed to the WHO to help coordinate the international response.
The Government has launched a public information campaign setting out how everyone can take steps to minimise risk to them and their families. For further information, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-public-information-campaign-launched-across-the-uk
If you would like further information about self-isolation, or the latest information, please visit the Government guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public This page is being updated every day at 2pm until further notice, in addition to press briefings and parliamentary statements.
I will continue to closely follow this issue and, where appropriate, provide further updates. In addition, I am regularly updating my Twitter with new guidance and statements, this can be viewed here: https://twitter.com/greghands
Locally, we are so lucky in Chelsea and Fulham to have so many amazing voluntary and community groups that do so much good all year round.
Many are now re-organising to look after the elderly and vulnerable in our community at this unsettling time. If you are one of these groups and you are organising to help those in your community, please let me know, so we can direct people who may contact my office to the people best placed to help. I have included further details below of Council contact details and community initiatives I'm currently aware of.
It is clear that the virus will be with us for some time, but I know my ministerial colleagues and others are working around the clock to ensure the public is protected.
If you have any concerns about your own health or symptoms, please visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ or if necessary call 111.
Please take care and look out for your neighbours, family, and friends.
The Rt Hon Greg Hands MP
Member of Parliament for Chelsea and Fulham
NHS - Coronavirus Guidance
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.
Stay at home if you have either:
- a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
- a new, continuous cough – this means you've started coughing repeatedly
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you're staying at home.
Go to NHS.uk/coronavirus for information about the virus and how to protect yourself.