Statement from Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe
“It’s been quite a week. The Government has made new announcements every day and quickly we have all had to adjust to services reducing or stopping altogether. At the same time we’ve initiated new ones specifically to support residents and businesses to get through these challenging times. The speed of change has been difficult for people to adapt to, yet it is vital that we all take measures to prevent the virus from spreading. Do frequent handwashing, maintain physical distancing and work from home if you are able.
“The Government has just announced that cafés, pubs and restaurants must close now as well as cinemas, gyms, leisure centres and nightclubs. Public Health professional advice is that people should not have mass gatherings, this includes private, public and family events. We have to quickly get used to the ‘new normal’.
“In response to the situation, in just one week the Council has set up a new ‘People Can’ volunteering network. The central telephone number of 01274 431000 has already attracted 150 volunteers from across the district, which is great. These volunteers will play an important role in making sure that people who are self-isolating can get the groceries they need when they can’t leave the house. From Monday our schools will be playing an important role providing childcare for key workers who are keeping Bradford Council running. Schools have been great at stepping up to the plate and offering to help and I want to thank them for their support for our community.
“What has taken some of my time this week has been rebutting fake news. For example I can definitively confirm that NASA is not bringing in aliens to help with the Coronavirus effort! Such scaremongering is unfair on all of us. Undoubtedly we are living in serious times with serious challenges ahead of us, but none of us need to hear false stories which make us feel worse about the situation.
“I’m a firm believer however that the vast majority of people are fundamentally good. Kind people will always go that extra mile to help each other in times of need. People can make a difference. Thank you particularly to all those people who are still giving to the food banks, they need more. Council teams are also rising to the challenge. Our warden service is now switching from their usual work to checking on vulnerable people who might need help and support. Our Adult Social Care team are ditching annual leave they had planned and some part-time workers are now working full-time to share the load. It’s a supreme effort.
“Mother’s Day this weekend will sadly really expose the impact coronavirus is having on family life. Self-isolation and the desire not to share space in order to protect others from the virus means so many people will find themselves separated on an occasion that usually provides an opportunity to enjoy family time together.
“This year we’re going to have to find creative ways to connect and celebrate the role mums play as the glue for our families and often our wider communities.
“Modern technology means that Skype and Facetime will be working overtime on Sunday as families connect remotely, it’s an opportunity for our older residents to hone their skills as Silver Surfers! But giving your mum an old-fashioned telephone call is just as good and will be appreciated. It’s still possible for many of us to get together with our loved ones outdoors – as long as we keep our physical distance as recommended by the experts in the medical profession. This could be in the local park or just chat in the garden at a distance, the weather forecast for Sunday looks good so far.
“Many people are feeling very isolated in their own homes at the moment. I’d urge everyone to be a caring citizen and check on their neighbours at this time perhaps by putting a note through the door. They might need a hand with their shopping or their bins, or just be glad to hear a friendly voice with a phone call.
“The coming weeks require us to take care of ourselves and more importantly be considerate of each other. We will all work through this.”
How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus
The advice from the NHS is to protect yourselves and reduce any risks by practicing good hand hygiene. Specifically:
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin straight away
- wash your hands with soap and water often for 20 seconds
- try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if your hands are not clean
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online. Use the NHS 111 online service if:
- you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- your condition gets worse
- your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
Use the 111 online coronavirus service at 111.nhs.uk/covid-19/