Dominic Raab MP's May 2020 e-bulletin View this email in your browser ([link removed])
Dom Raab MP's May 2020 E-Bulletin
Locally this month, I have been volunteering with The Besom charity in Esher – delivering furniture to a newly housed vulnerable individual – and the East Elmbridge Foodbank. I also had a good discussion with Dr Claire Fuller, from the Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership, about the local health response to Coronavirus.
At Westminster, the government set out a road-map for changing the measures in place, as we pass the peak of the virus. This approach, taking place in phases, has only been possible thanks to your efforts in following the guidance so far which has reduced the transmission rate. For many businesses and families, locally and across the UK, this period has been really hard going. So, it is good news that we’ve made sufficient progress in tackling Covid-19, and been able to ease some of the restrictions.
You can keep up to date with the latest guidance here ([link removed]) . You can also access all the support available to individuals and businesses during the pandemic through my new ‘Coronavirus support’ website page, here ([link removed]) .
Dom with Annie Emmins from The Besom in Esher, delivering vital household items to those in the community in need.
Locally this month, I have continued to support the local community effort to tackle COVID-19 and support our most vulnerable residents. I joined Annie Emmins from The Besom in Esher to help with the charity’s home delivery service. We collected a bed, bedding and kitchen essentials from a generous donor in Claygate and delivered it to a vulnerable individual who Elmbridge Borough Council have provided with accommodation in West Molesey, careful to observe social distancing. You can read more about this on my blog here ([link removed]) .
I also had a valuable update from Dr Claire Fuller, Senior Responsible Officer at Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership, about the local NHS response to Coronavirus. She explained the work that our GP practices and other NHS staff are doing across Surrey to treat all patients, not just those with Coronavirus, at this very challenging time. You can read more on my blog here ([link removed]) .
Later, I joined Jenny French and the team at East Elmbridge Foodbank to deliver food parcels to residents facing difficulties, particularly the elderly and vulnerable. If you wish to offer your support, the foodbank is currently seeking cash donations so that it can purchase supplies direct from wholesalers and ease pressure on local supermarkets. You can read more about this on my blog here ([link removed]) . ([link removed])
I have also added a new ‘Coronavirus support’ page to my website, here ([link removed]) . This brings together the support available and signposts individuals and businesses in the right direction.
Nationally, we have been successful in flattening the peak of the virus.
The data backs this up. On 1 May, there were 6,201 new cases of Coronavirus and 739 Coronavirus-associated deaths reported for the previous day. On 27 May, this was down to 2,013 new cases, and 412 Coronavirus-associated deaths.
This can also be seen in the reproduction, or “R” rate for transmission of the virus. At the beginning of the epidemic, the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) assessed that R was between 2.7 and 3.0. This means that, on average, each person with the disease gave it to nearly three other people. SAGE is confident that R is now below 1. If we keep the R below 1, the number of new infections will fall over time.
Crucially, we have also been able to protect the NHS through the peak. The UK’s critical care capacity was expanded, and as a result, in English hospitals, the proportion of mechanical ventilator beds occupied by Coronavirus patients peaked at 42% - on 12 April – and was 12% on 26 May.
It is because of this progress that we have set out our road map for the next phase of our fight against COVID-19. It is a careful and targeted plan, informed by the evidence about what is safe, and conditional upon our continued progress against the virus. The road map, which you can read here ([link removed]) , outlines three steps.
Step one, from 13 May, allowed people, subject to social distancing, to spend time outdoors and exercise as often as they like. The government also encouraged those who are unable to work from home to go back to work, with new guidelines setting out how workplaces can be made COVID-secure.
On 25 May, the Prime Minister outlined the changes the government intends to introduce as we move into the second phase. This includes allowing outdoor markets and car showrooms to reopen from 1 June. From 15 June, the government intends to allow all other non-essential retail to reopen. However, this will depend on the progress made against the five tests for easing measures that the government set out in April, and on businesses being able to follow the guidance for opening safely.
The government also set out the intention to begin reopening nurseries and primary schools from 1 June, along with some contact with teachers for secondary school pupils with exams next year from 15 June. More information on the plan for reopening schools can be found here ([link removed]) .
The third step will be made no earlier than 4 July. At that point, measures could involve opening some of the remaining businesses and premises that have been required to close. This will take place only when the assessment of risk warrants further adjustments. At every step, we will monitor very carefully the state of the virus, and only proceed when it is safe to do so.
In addition, the progress we are making with our plan for testing and tracing those with Coronavirus will enable us to proceed with greater confidence and control.
This is the right course of action for the country. We are relaxing the restrictions, opening up businesses and schools, and enabling more social activity in carefully calibrated and sure-footed phases, so we don’t undo all the hard-work and sacrifices which so many people have made, and continue to make.
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