Oliver's Column for My News - May 2020

Like most of you I have been working from home these past few weeks, but I have been continuing to work hard as your Member of Parliament, and as a Cabinet Minister, dealing with this unprecedented crisis caused by COVID-19. 

The coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced for decades. We have all taken drastic steps to alter our everyday lives to join the national effort to tackle it. At its heart the plan is simple - by staying at home we can help protect the NHS and save lives. 

Of course, this is challenging for everyone. No one wants to spend the glorious spring days confined to home except for exercise, essential shopping, getting to work if you can’t work from home or other medical reasons. But all of us have seen the huge sacrifices being made by our NHS heroes working tirelessly on the front line in hospitals and elsewhere. We know that in comparison these are small compromises. 

The Government is working hard to provide the support the NHS needs to deal with this unprecedented challenge. We have made a lot of progress such as building the new Nightingale Hospital in just nine days and getting over 650 million pieces of protective equipment. Of course there is much more for us to do particularly in relation to getting equipment to the right places and on testing.  

There will also be huge economic costs. It is an inevitable consequence of stopping large amounts of activity. That’s why we’ve put in tens of billions of pounds worth of economic support to try to alleviate the worst effects. 

Overall though I think we are on the right track and there is tentative evidence as I write this of the plan starting to work. That is why it is so important we all continue to do our bit and stick to the course.  

And as with everything this crisis will pass and we’ll all have to work to restore life to normal. I also hope, though, that when this ends, we retain some of the community spirit that has shown Hertsmere and the nation at its best.

[This article was written on Tuesday 14 April 2020]