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Harrogate and Knaresborough MP, Andrew Jones, has been discussing preparations for coronavirus with local public sector chiefs in a bid to reassure constituents that our area is ready should it take hold here.
Mr Jones has been contacted by concerned constituents and local business owners who are experiencing a drop in trade due to fears about the virus.
Commenting on the discussions he has had Mr Jones said:
I am reassured that our area is well-prepared should cases of Coronavirus be found here. There are currently no cases of Coronavirus in our immediate area, but there are some cases in neighbouring local authorities. That is why our local health teams are being vigilant and have the necessary processes and procedures in place.
Locally, Mr Jones has held discussions with:
Mr Steve Russell, Chief Executive, Harrogate & Rural District NHS Trust.
Mr Simon Cox, Director of Acute Commission at North Yorkshire CCG.
Mr Richard Flinton, Chief Executive, North Yorkshire County Council.
Mr Wallace Sampson, Chief Executive, Harrogate Borough Council.
We are currently in the containment phase – but the advice that is being issued daily by the NHS team leading our national response is that this will change if as expected the number of cases grows.
Our local discussions focussed on the resilience of services to ensure they keep running, how they would handle an increase in demand.
The NHS has responded well already, setting up testing up systems and developing plans. Remember, at the start of December no-one knew that coronavirus even existed.
In addition to local discussions, Mr Jones has attended briefing meetings in parliament with the Rt Hon Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health, and the Chief Medical Officer, Prof Chris Whitty.
Mr Jones continued:
Nationally, tackling this issue is the top priority. The Government has published advice for healthcare professionals, the public, schools and many other organisations. Plans are in place to ensure that our lives can continue as normally as possible while taking the action necessary to contain the virus and treat people who catch it.
Advice for the public on hygiene and the virus is available on the nhs.uk and gov.uk websites.
Anyone concerned that they may have the virus should ring 111, and not go to their local pharmacy, GP surgery or to A&E, but follow the advice from the health professionals on 111.