Posted: 22.03.20 at 11:05 by Nick Hudson
An Atherstone councillor has offered to “play Mum” today as the whole country is being implored to resist the natural urge to visit loved ones on Mother’s Day.
Central Councillor Dawn Downes says she will happily check on mothers who could miss out on the traditional family get-togethers.
The town and borough councilor, who is a theatre operative at Nuneaton’s George Eliot Hospital, is also prepared to chat with “any resident” who needs help or support. She can be contacted through Facebook on https://www.facebook.com/clldawn.downes
Her heartening message comes as emergency services join Boris Johnson in advising people to implement more stringent social distancing practices from now on – for the foreseeable future.
The Prime Minister is calling on the country not to visit mums, but instead telephone or skype, as the outbreak is "accelerating" and threatening to overwhelm the NHS
Warwickshire Police posted on social media: “As #Covid19 cases continue to rise, social distancing becomes ever more important.
“Please #StayHomeSaveLives and help to reduce the demand on your emergency services. However, we're always here on 999 and 101 if you need us.”
Warwickshire Fire & Rescue added: “The advice is clear. To stop the spread of #Covid19, people need to stay at home and reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
“This is not just to reduce the pressure on our hospitals and NHS colleagues, but also to save the lives of the ones we love. Who wouldn't want to do that!”
Medical experts are warning the next seven days are crucial in the spread of the pandemic in the UK.
Respiratory consultant Dr Julia Courtney said: "It is hard to actually convey just the enormity of the crisis that is looming for the NHS, and so for everyone, in the next few weeks.
"Huge numbers of people will die and the only thing that will have any impact on this impending catastrophe is slowing the spread of this virus.
"This is the week that the most people who are infected without knowing it will cause the virus to spread.
"What you do today will affect the intensive care unit (ICU) beds in the hospitals in the next two to three weeks.
"So please, please, please, stay at home if you can."
Meanwhile, military planners have been called in to help with localised support systems as people at high risk from the coronavirus were urged to stay home for at least 12 weeks.
The Government and health officials have urged the 1.5 million people in England considered most at risk from the disease because of their health conditions to begin "shielding" themselves by staying at home.
Letters will go out this week "strongly advising" them not to go out for at least 12 weeks from Monday.
The Government has also announced a new local support system to ensure people self-isolating at home without support networks can have basic groceries delivered.
Military planners, already helping councils and local resilience forums in their responses to the outbreak, have been centrally involved in setting up the new network.
In a stark message to the country, Mr Johnson said the NHS was in danger of being "overwhelmed" in the same way as the Italian healthcare system unless people heeded Government advice on "social distancing".
His message follows Friday's dramatic announcement that all pubs, restaurants, cinemas and theatres are to shut in the latest move to combat the disease.
The UK's Covid-19 death toll reached 233 yesterday, the same as Italy's total two weeks ago. Italy's toll has since risen to 4,825, making it the hardest-hit country in the world.
The Prime Minister acknowledged the Government was imposing measures "never seen before either in peace or war", but said they were essential as the outbreak gathered pace.
"The numbers are very stark, and they are accelerating. We are only a matter of weeks - two or three – behind Italy. The Italians have a superb health care system. And yet their doctors and nurses have been completely overwhelmed by the demand," he said.
"The Italian death toll is already in the thousands and climbing. Unless we act together, unless we make the heroic and collective national effort to slow the spread - then it is all too likely that our own NHS will be similarly overwhelmed."
The UK has 5,018 confirmed cases while Italy, probably two weeks ahead of Nritain in terms of spread of the disease, has 53,578 people who have tested positive.
Spain has 25,496 cases and 1,381 deaths, France has reported 14,459 cases and 562 deaths while Germany has a large number of confirmed cases – 22,364 – but relatively few victims, at 84 deaths.
China, where the disease first erupted, has 81,054 confirmed cases and 3,261 deaths – a figure which been overtaken by Italy now. Some 72,440 people have recovered from Covid-19 in China.
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