As lockdown continues and the weather improves I know it’s hard to stick to the Government’s social distancing guidelines. But it’s more important than ever that we keep working to slow the spread of the virus and support the work of our fantastic NHS.
As well as sticking to the rules, please consider downloading the NHS’s new coronavirus app, and take a minute out of each day to report your daily health, even if you’re well. It will help the NHS plan, and identify high risk areas across Wales, and ultimately help to slow the spread of the virus. You can find the app here and read all the research updates. The more we know about the virus and the more information we have on where it is, the better the chance we have of fighting it in our communities.
Social Care Wales have now introduced a card to be issued to all care workers in Wales that should help them access the benefits specifically available to key workers during this pandemic. Some care workers have said that they have found it difficult to prove they are key workers, despite the fact that their jobs are clearly providing essential support to our friends and families. More information can be found on the Social Care Wales website here.
The UK Government has announced this week that the furlough scheme has now been extended to include any and all employees on the PAYE scheme to 19th March 2020, which means that thousands more workers can be furloughed and will benefit from the 80% wage guarantee. This will be welcome news to many families who are struggling to get by during this difficult time. More information on the Government announcement can be found here.
It’s been heartening to see so much generosity from so many people as we adapt to a different way of life. Unfortunately, we have also seen an increase in scam calls and texts relating to the coronavirus, containing misinformation that could leave people seriously out of pocket. These include texts and calls claiming to be from the Government, your GP’s surgery, the NHS, or even the World Health Organisation, offering a test for the virus, or a treatment or cure. If you receive a call or a text that you suspect might be a scam, hang up or delete the text, and report it to Action Fraud, including the number that was used to contact you. For more information, see Ofcom’s website here.
I was pleased this week to sign an important letter to the Foreign Secretary, calling on him to provide more support to constituents stranded in Pakistan. With businesses closing across the world, people stranded away from the security of home are finding life increasingly difficult and stressful. Many are being charged extortionate prices for travel home, which is out of reach for those who have little in savings or who have spent thousands on cancelled flights already. The UK Government must organise charter flights as soon as possible to bring our citizens home.
Tuesday will see Parliament return from the Easter recess – but with some changes to allow for social distancing. Parliamentary authorities have proposed that around 120 MPs dial in via Zoom calls to ask questions – with a further 50 allowed to sit in the chamber. It’s more important than ever that we are able to probably scrutinise the decisions the Government makes and I’m glad we’ve been able to adapt to allow just that – even in these strange times.
As always, if you have any questions or issues and want to get in touch, please do not hesitate to drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01639 630152. My staff are working from home to comply with the social distancing measures, but, as always, we remain there should you need to get in contact with us.
I hope you stay well, enjoy the weekend and, remember – stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.