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Write: Michelle Donelan MP, 61 New Road, Chippenham, SN15 1ES

Essential Coronavirus Information

We are living in extremely challenges and worrying times but I wanted to flag up the help available. I must also take this opportunity to stress the importance of staying at home to reduce the spread and save lives.

I also want to say a massive thank you to everyone who is helping their community and the most vulnerable members. We can only defeat this virus by working together.

The measures this Government has taken have escalated quickly and imposed more and more restrictions on how we live our lives from closing down the pubs, bars, restaurants and areas where we socialise to shutting down schools and, now, shielding the most vulnerable 1.5 million within their own homes for 12 weeks.

This is unprecedented action for unprecedented times, but it is also essential action if we are to save as many lives as possible and protect our NHS and the fantastic healthcare staff who are now being called upon to look after every single person who is seriously affected.

In all of this I know that many people will be put in challenging situations where they may be concerned for their own health, the health of a loved one, the security of their job or the future of their business. I want you to know that both myself and this Government are doing everything we can to support you, to protect you, and to carry us all through these challenging times.

We can all do our bit to fight coronavirus

  • Avoid all unnecessary travel and unnecessary social interactions, staying two metres apart at all times. Please listen to a Doctor’s plea to stay at home and why this is so important
  • If you have the symptoms of a new and continuous cough or a high temperature you must stay at home and isolate for 7 days. If one person shows symptoms, the whole household must isolate for 14 days
  • Use the 111 coronavirus service online if you need help, only call 111 if your symptoms worsen.
  • Work from home if possible
  • Shop responsibly and think of others. There is no need to stockpile as this country has more than enough food and supplies for every single household and this Government has taken action in conjuction with supermarkets to accelerate the delivery of goods to stores across the country.
  • Look out for your neighbours and those who you know are vulnerable or elderly in the local community. Whether it is getting a bit of shopping for them, picking up prescriptions or simply having a chat, you can make a real difference to those who now must isolate for weeks on end. You can print off a postcard to advertise you are ready to help neighbours here:
Join local online support groups for your area to see how you can either help or get help If you have set up or are part of another local group please let me know so I can promote it.

If you are vulnerable:

Those who are elderly or suffer from underlying health conditions must take extra care to shield themselves from this virus. You can check whether you qualify as a vulnerable person by following this link: If you fall into this category, you must immediately follow a set of special measures to keep yourself safe:
  • Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough.
  • Do not leave your house.
  • Do not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces for example family homes, weddings and religious services.
  • Do not go out for shopping, leisure or travel and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact.
  • Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.

Support for businesses and people

Businesses small and large have contacted me about their concerns over what coronavirus means for their future and I know many employees are similarly worried that this pandemic will leave them financially vulnerable. As the Chancellor Rishi Sunak has made clear, we will do whatever it takes to support our business and support our workers. I want to underline that we are very aware of the impact this is having on organisations, especially those like pubs and cafes who have been forced to shut the door to customers, which is why this Government will not let these businesses fall and the Treasury has taken seismic steps to stand behind our economy:
  • £330bn funding for Government backed and guaranteed loans to support companies – up to £5m for small or medium-sized businesses with no interest to pay for 12 months
  • £10,000 cash grants for the smallest 700,000 businesses
  • Business rate holiday of 12 months and up to £25,000 cash grant per business for all those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors
  • Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month and the scheme will be backdated to March 1st
  • £6bn of extra support through the welfare system and support for the self-employed by suspending the minimum income floor for Universal Credit.
I want to underline that the support and situation will keep changing because we must be both proactive as well as reactive tot eh situation in hand to ensure that people are both safe and also financially secure.
More information on the support available for businesses can be found on the official government page, (, and on Wiltshire Council’s website, (

School closure

With schools closed, the Department for Education has established a coronavirus helpline (0800 046 8687) if you are unsure on how this affects you and you can also email them on [email protected] 
Schools will remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. It is really important that we try to reduce social contact so if you are a key worker but your partner is working from home then please do not use the school facility this will only work if we all think of the wider picture.
Please, therefore, follow these key principles:
  • If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
  • If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
  • Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  • Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
  • Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.
Pupils will still get the qualifications they need despite the cancellation of exams and the Secretary of State for Education and the Prime Minister are working closely to ensure the impact on education is minimised.

Emergency Coronavirus Bill

At this time of unprecedented change, the Government must act quickly to ensure it has the powers and resources to help people through the difficulties caused by the virus. This new Bill, jointly agreed with the devolved administrations of the UK, gives the UK the power to pull out all the stops in the fight against this virus. The powers will only be used when necessary and are not permanent. The Emergency Coronavirus Bill enables action across five main areas:
  1. Increasing the available health and social care workforce;
  2. Easing the burden on frontline staff;
  3. Containing and slowing the virus;
  4. Managing the deceased with respect and dignity; and
  5. Supporting people through the crisis
Details of the policies contained in the Bill is available at: All of the measures are strictly temporary, proportionate to the threat we face and are designed to work for the whole country, including Wiltshire.

Where can I find out the latest information?

Stay updated with the daily press conferences which the Prime Minister and senior Ministers are running and also follow my social media channels through which I will be doing my best to publicise the latest announcements. You can also monitor the below web pages which are being constantly updated to reflect the evolving situation:
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 01249 704465
Write: Michelle Donelan MP, 61 New Road, Chippenham, SN15 1ES
Copyright © 2020 Michelle Donelan, All rights reserved.
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