A statement from Sir Bernard Jenkin MP: serving you through this crisis:
COVID19 is having a huge impact on your daily lives and businesses. It is also a personal threat to some of the most vulnerable in our society. The government has announced new measures to defeat the virus, and yesterday, a massive economic package to support business through the crisis. This is all completely unprecedented but these announcements show our system of government is agile and able to react quickly and decisively.
This message sets out how I and my office will change our working practices so that we can best serve you through this crisis. I am also supporting local government, the NHS, local business and community groups, to make sure we do all we can to lessen the risk to people, the impact and disruption we all face. As you will know, social distancing and periods of self-isolation are being advised for those living in a household where someone is exhibiting symptoms, and also for those considered vulnerable. These are people aged 70 or over, or under 70 but with one of the conditions listed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults
The Government’s advice is evolving to ensure the best possible response to this pandemic and to focus primarily on saving lives. It is vitally important you all follow the instructions being given by the Chief Medical Officer, the Government and the NHS, including washing your hands and avoiding unnecessary social interaction.
Regarding my own work, I will continue to do all I can to support my constituents through this period of difficulty. However, it is necessary that some things change to avoid placing others at risk. I will no longer be seeing constituents face-to-face at surgeries. This eliminates non-essential contact. Instead, I will conduct telephone surgeries. I am always available by email at Bernard.email@example.com . Send me your telephone number too and I or my office will call you back.
As you will understand, my priority now is assisting with issues arising from COVID19 and so these will take priority over non-urgent, non-COVID19 queries and issues. If this crisis is protracted, we will take on other caseloads if we have the capacity. My office team are now working from home but remain just as available through their respective email addresses. We are seeing how calls to the office can be forwarded. I am so grateful for their commitment to serving constituents in this crisis.
I am currently working with your local Councils and community leaders to support the formation of local community organisations which can support those most in need and severely affected by the current constraints. We must be prepared for the fact that public services, particularly the NHS, will be overstretched. Please email me if you are involved with leading such a group in your local community and I am not already in touch with you – and thank you for what you are doing. I have been struck by how keen and willing people are to get involved in helping their communities. With some organisation, we will all be able to play a part in mitigating the impact of COVID19.
Finally, I would encourage everyone not considered to be vulnerable, as set out in the link above, to look out for one another. You will have older people and those with health conditions which make them vulnerable living nearby. If you are one of those, and you are concerned you are not getting support, please contact your parish or town council, or your local councillors, or me, and one of us will make sure a local group knows where you are and what you need. Your priority is to avoid getting infected, because the NHS is likely to be at full stretch. If you are younger and able, you are unlikely to be at risk if you get the virus. So please find your local group and offer your help (particularly if you have a car). Isolated people will need volunteers to collect their shopping for them and to collect their medicines.
For those willing to volunteer to help, please fill in the form available at the following link to register with the Essex County Council:
Please also consider offering to help elderly neighbours who may be in need and self-isolating, although make sure to avoid any direct contact which could risk spreading infection.
I am investigating how to make sure that local community groups can be advertised and will keep updating you on this on my social media.
Sir Bernard Jenkin MP