The next couple of months at least are going to be tough.
They are going to be tough for individuals, for businesses, for community groups, for everyone.
The measures being put in place are not being put in place on the whim of politicians. They are recommended by a team of the best scientists and health professionals in our country. The advice is updated at least daily at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.
Please check these sites regularly as when the situation changes the advice will change too. That is because we need to take the appropriate action to fit the stage the virus outbreak
We need to work together as a community like never before. Our goals should be to protect lives and to protect livelihoods.
I am talking to the authorities to see what role my team and I can play to support the efforts of the police, the NHS, councils and other statutory and voluntary bodies. It is important that in our eagerness to help others we work with these organisations so every ounce of effort counts.
I will be releasing more details of how this may work over the next couple of days as those discussions progress.
Last week the government announced a package of measures for business. As the situation changes and we can see more clearly the differential effect on different sectors I am certain more support, and different types of support, will become available.
The current package is detailed at www.gov.uk/coronavirus. There is also information available for employees on sick pay and financial support.
It is critical that this support reaches businesses and I have made that point to the Treasury, asking what can be done to speed up this process. Again, as I receive more details I will make this available.
Our public services – particularly our NHS – are going to face challenges on an unprecedented scale. I am so grateful to everyone working in our public services for what they are doing and what they will do. We all need to follow their health advice to help them help us.
Businesses will struggle to survive. People will be poorly. As the Prime Minister said, some will lose loved ones earlier than they would otherwise have done.
But this will be better if we work together to look after our relatives, to support local businesses, to make sure those over 70 or with health conditions have access to food, to medicine, to company, to friendship.
It’s time to be the best neighbours we can be. Please take a moment as you read this to think about people you know, about those in your street to consider who might need help. Make contact with them and find out what that help is and put in place a plan to deliver it.
Everyone has a part to play and if everyone plays that part we will get through this as a society and a community in much better shape than we will otherwise.