Last week, the Prime Minister addressed the country to mark another significant turning point in our battle against Coronavirus. Unfortunately, the transmission rate of the virus is increasing, with cases doubling between every nine and 14 days approximately. This news signals a shift in how we think about the virus – from something that is short-lived to something that we, sadly, have to learn to live with until a vaccine or cure is found.
This realisation necessitates a difficult and delicate balancing act between battling Coronavirus and the impact on livelihoods that curtailment of our economy would inflict. There is no easy answer, and I have witnessed from both sides the devastation Coronavirus can cause for families, as well as the enormous stress and impact from losing your job or business.
What we have seen from the Government is a balance in terms of restrictions and economic support. The rule of six is very difficult – especially for larger families, but socialising between households is still allowed as long as you keep the rules in mind. Weddings may go ahead, but with only 15 guests – and I do not underestimate the stress that this has caused couples. There is tighter enforcement of the rules, which are now law, to ensure that everyone abides by them. Equally on the economic side, the Chancellor's Winter Plan will help protect viable jobs, but it cannot protect every job in perpetuity. This is not an easy message, but it is one that is necessary as we fight to keep our economy going and our public finances under control as we confront this virus.
One thing that is absolutely imperative is schools must remain open. We know that children are very unlikely to suffer from this virus, so we cannot let their futures be affected by it. I welcome the Prime Minister’s pledge to ensure that schools, colleges and universities stay open. But I would like this to also include nurseries. The burden of increased childcare and household chores has fallen disproportionately on women during this period and it is important that we do not precipitate an increase in female unemployment.
I know many of you will be feeling nervous about the months ahead but if we stick together and stick to the rules, we will get through this. If anyone has questions or would like help or support, please do not hesitate to contact myself and the team on firstname.lastname@example.org.