The coronavirus outbreak is of real concern to many of my constituents, so I will make it my business to share with you any information that I am given, that could perhaps help to ease some concerns, and that can help protect you and your family.
As Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Health Minister I receive regular briefings from Welsh Government, and last week, as a member of the Assembly’s Health Committee, I was able to quiz Wales’ Chief Medical Officer, as well as senior leaders of NHS Wales and Public Health Wales.
The first thing to say is that I understand people’s concerns. I too have a family, and like you I want to be able to arm myself with the best information we can get our hands on. We need to do this in order to be able look after ourselves and those dear to us, be that our children, or perhaps a parent or older relative.
Latest advice (as of Monday evening) from Welsh Government was that most cases appear to be mild. But of course, as with many viruses, it can cause more sever symptoms among more vulnerable groups, including those with other long-term health conditions.
It’s important that advice is heeded. Some is common sense. Wash your hands often. Use a tissue if you cough or sneeze, and then bin it. And try to avoid touching your face.
Then there are some more strict instructions, for example to self-isolate if you’ve recently visited some specific areas, symptoms or not, or to keep away from other people if you DO have symptoms on return from other locations.
It’s likely that there’ll be a new law passed to give authorities more powers to try to control or delay the virus’ spread. I’ll be trying to hold Welsh Government to account over those plans, and on matters such as ensuring health workers have the necessary support and resources to treat others and keep themselves safe. I’ve heard some concerns and we need Government action to be as effective as possible.
Public Health Wales regularly updates information and advice online. I’ve created this shortcut to help you find it: tinyurl.com/phwcovid19
It contains the latest information and answers to Frequently Asked Questions. I realise that many people will not have access to the internet, so perhaps a friend or family member could seek answers on the website on your behalf if you have any questions. Failing that, whilst my office can’t give health advice, if you want my team to relay the latest information and advice from the website to you, please call us on 01248 723599.