2020 was an incredibly difficult year for many and this was not the start we wanted to the New Year, but the lockdown announced this week is vital to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed and to protect those most at risk from this virus.
We must all now stay at home to try to slow the spread of the virus. That means working from home where possible and only go out for essential reasons: to shop for basic necessities, to exercise, to seek or provide medical assistance, and to attend education for those eligible. Most children will now learn remotely until February half term.
You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are permitted to form one). In public settings, such as supermarkets, it is vital that you maintain a 2-metre distance, wear a face covering and continue to wash your hands regularly.
University students who are able to study from home should do so and continue with their courses online until their universities indicate otherwise. For those studying practical courses, such as medicine and dentistry and social work, your universities will be in touch with you regarding measures you will need to take.
You can still leave your homes to access emergency help – our hospitals and GPs are still open to you, but in cases which are not life threatening, please call your GP or NHS 111 as a first point of call. Other conditions and illnesses have not disappeared during the pandemic, and it is important that your concerns are addressed.
For greater detail on the rules and exceptions, see the UK Government website.
I know many constituents have concerns about the impact of this latest lockdown on family finances and health. The Birmingham City Council website has information on the support available for residents and businesses during this difficult time, from housing and rent advice to booking lateral flow tests.
Citizens Advice are still working remotely and are a vital source of support for those experiencing financial or employment difficulties and are available online at their website or on the phone at 03444 77 1010.
If there are issues you want to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0121 661 9440. My team and I are of course subject to many of the same challenges and restrictions as other families in Birmingham Ladywood at the minute, but we will do everything we can to help constituents in these difficult times.