To distance is the social thing to do

With coronavirus (COVID-19) affecting a number of high-profile individuals it should not be lost on anyone the need to follow official isolation advice. Ironically to distance is the social thing to do, then we will all be through this crisis together soon.

Just as COVID-19 does not discriminate against individuals, it does not discriminate against countries either, and the UK is leading the international effort. As a member of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, last week we published a report about how the Chinese communist regime’s disinformation has cost so many lives. China could have helped other nations prepare a swift response, but instead manipulated vital information about the virus in order to protect their regime's image. We are calling for a new approach to future relationships with China and a reformed, science-led, transparent, global health alliance, putting patients world-wide as a priority, not politically convenient cover-ups.

Locally I wish to thank all involved at the official Crawley and Sussex COVID-19 Community Hub, located at a redeployed K2 Leisure Centre. This work is vital to ensure support gets to the most vulnerable people.

Last week also saw Gatwick Airport’s long-stay car park transformed into a drive-through coronavirus testing centre, first for NHS staff and key workers.

The Department for Education have recently confirmed that Government will make additional funding available for schools to cover the challenges and costs of COVID-19. While the Easter holidays would usually be underway, this situation means that where possible, schools will continue to care for vulnerable children and those of critical workers. The funding will cover unforeseen additional costs including for cleaning, catering and keeping schools open over Easter.

Additionally the Department of Health & Social Care have launched a Coronavirus Status Checker to help the NHS gain an even greater understanding of the virus so we can even more effectively fight it. Further details can be found at: www.nhs.uk/coronavirus-status-checker

Henry Smith MP