With coronavirus now spreading, we currently face a major challenge to our town, surrounding villages and across the nation.
For this reason it is vital that we come together, are united and do all we can to protect the most vulnerable, ourselves, our loved ones and friends. We have little alternative but to listen daily to the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, Chief Science Officer, Public Health England and the NHS – and to follow that advice.
I will work closely with the Council and Councillors of every political persuasion, alongside community groups to help those most in need.
As MP for Harlow and the Villages, I am continuing to carry out my duties in Harlow and in Parliament – including surgeries – until told otherwise by the relevant authorities. It may be that we move surgeries online via Skype etc – or on the telephone – depending on what happens over the coming days.
Every day, I get hundreds of emails and messages from members of the public on many different subjects. The team and I in Harlow and Westminster do our best to answer them, or meet residents in my regular surgeries or at the many community events that are held across the town.
Given the coronavirus crisis, from now on, all priority will be given to answering messages, calls or helping residents who need answers to questions, directing them to NHS guidance and assistance for those residents in self-isolation, who may not have networks of support. I am currently, and will continue to, contacting the relevant Government Ministers with some of these questions. My Facebook and Twitter pages will contain regular updates and information that may be useful to residents.
Over the past few days, I have already had numerous messages from worried constituents, organisations and businesses who require assistance.
For this reason, most other non-urgent emails/messages will not be dealt with at this time, and may take a few weeks to deal with.
All of us need to make it our priority to overcome this awful virus. We should all try and do one act of kindness, however small, whether it is buying food and toilet paper for an elderly neighbour, not over-shopping for supermarket products that others may need, or helping the wonderful organisations like Rainbow Services, Streets 2 Homes, the Harlow Foodbank and many more that do so much for our town. It was wonderful to receive an email from a Harlow company that makes darts equipment, but have offered to switch their production to help the national effort to make ventilators or other medical equipment. That is what kindness is all about.
As Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, Great Britain will overcome the coronavirus and get through this. However, the road ahead is going to be hard for everyone.
Harlow is a very special place, with extraordinary reserves of kindness and goodwill. It is a place where people look out for one another. Let us get through this together.
Robert Halfon MP