Column in the Glamorgan Gem by Alun Cairns MP:

At present, there is no getting away from the threat that is posed by the Coronavirus. This is, understandably, causing a great deal of concern for people, not only here in the Vale, but across the World. I recently spoke to a constituent who travelled back from an affected area of Italy and was concerned about the processes – which I have raised with the relevant authorities. It is a situation which is developing very quickly and we need to stay up to date with the latest advice from officials.

However, I would like to call for calm amidst the storm. While it is important to take precautions – including washing your hands regularly with soap and hot water – it is also crucial to remain calm. A line that I heard from a Doctor discussing the topic was ‘everyone should be invested, no one should panic’ and I felt this summed up quite well the need for everyone to change behaviour to protect themselves and others but, at the same time, not to panic.

I can reassure everyone that the NHS is well prepared to deal with incidents like this. The Government has a clear path to contain and delay the spread of the virus, as the Prime Minister, the Chief Medical Officer and the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor set out this week. On current advice, we remain in the ‘Containment’ phase and the Government is preparing to advise anyone who shows even minor signs of respiratory tract infections or a fever to self-isolate in an effort to tackle the outbreak.

Anyone with concerns or questions should call NHS Direct and should not visit their local surgery if they feel that they have become infected. 

Regulations have been put in place to reduce the risk of further human-to-human transmission in this country by keeping individuals in isolation where public health professionals believe there is a reasonable risk an individual may have the virus.

I am pleased that the UK is one of the first countries to have developed a world-leading test for the new coronavirus and the NHS is ready to respond appropriately to any cases that emerge. The Government has also made money available for the development of a vaccine to combat coronavirus. I sincerely hope that we can see the end of this outbreak as soon as possible.