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Email: michelle.don[email protected]
Telephone: 01249 704465
Write: Michelle Donelan MP, 61 New Road, Chippenham, SN15 1ES
** A Letter To All Constituents
Through our hard work and sacrifices we have managed to keep the coronavirus ‘R-rate’ down to a level where it is safe for us to begin returning to some aspects of normal life. Whilst this is a welcome achievement, we are not out of the woods yet. I want to personally thank you for playing your part in our national fight back against coronavirus. In this e-news update, I will give as much local and national information as possible to help you get through the next stage of our plan.
The stricter lockdown rules are beginning to be eased and many of us can once again return to work and meet others under very specific conditions. However, we still need to stay at home as much as possible, working from home if you can. Limit your contact with other people and where you do contact others, keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible). Remember to continue washing your hands regularly in all of these scenarios. Above all: do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
The NHS is currently not overloaded and we can all help to keep it that way by following the new guidance. The new ‘Test and Trace’ system will allow us to contain the virus as much as possible, while also allowing the economy to start moving again. I will set out more details about Test and Trace in the ‘Testing’ section below. Above all, our priority remains to maintain public health and stop the spread of coronavirus. Our community has managed to prevent a local spread on the scale of many other areas of the country, yet we must remember this is not yet over. Remaining vigilant and up-to-date with the guidance is vital.
I have been working flat-out for everyone in the constituency, working on both coronavirus queries and non-coronavirus issues. To ensure I am fully aware of the situation from all perspectives, I am also having weekly calls with Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Police and our local Clinical Commissioning Group representatives. Most importantly, I have been and will continue to maintain my weekly advice surgeries with constituents to hear first hand how I can help. My next surgeries are on Friday 26^th June 2020 13.00-14.00 and 17:00 – 18:00 – please email [email protected]
) or call 01249 704465 and leave a message for a slot. More surgeries are detailed below.
Finally, in all of this I know many people will be in challenging situations where they may be concerned for their own health, the health of a loved one, the security of their job or the future of their business. I want you to know that both myself and the Government are doing everything we can to support you, to protect you, and to help carry us through these challenging times. Please do get in touch if you need my help.
New Treatment for Coronavirus
This week, British researchers made a major breakthrough in the search for a treatment for coronavirus once a patient is seriously ill. The drug is a low-cost steroid called ‘Dexamethasone’ which is being trialled is part of the world's biggest trial testing existing treatments to see if they also work for coronavirus. Results show that it cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. For those on oxygen, it cut deaths by a fifth.
This is a remarkable British scientific achievement and we can be proud that as a country who has invested more than any other on vaccine and viral research, we have made a difference for the whole world’s response to this virus. I have received a few questions since this news broke, so I will clarify some more detail on the drug below.
Firstly, we should emphasize that this is a drug for people already seriously ill – it cannot be taken preventatively and should not be taken unless prescribed. The drug should also not be seen as a ‘cure’, we must stick to the guidelines in order to remain safe. In terms of the UK’s stocks, the Government has 200,000 courses of the drug in its stockpile and says the NHS will make dexamethasone available to all patients who need it. Regarding long term availability, the drug is easily produced and relatively cheap at about £35 per course.
The number of tests undertaken in the UK at the time of writing is just over 7,000,000. This means that we are going well over our target of 100,000 per day, with highs of 177,000 per day. This is an extraordinary achievement and is vital to the next stage, where we seek to ‘track and trace’ cases to prevent the spread.
The NHS test and trace service ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus and also includes targeted asymptomatic testing of NHS and social care staff and care home residents. The system also helps trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus.
We are introducing this service to help return life more to normal, in a way that is safe and protects our NHS and social care. The service will allow us to trace the spread of the virus and isolate new infections and play a vital role in giving us early warning if the virus is increasing again, locally or nationally. You can read more about this here: [link removed]
Local Cases / Trends
At the time of writing, the South West has seen a total of 7,888 cases – the lowest total for any region in the UK. In Wiltshire, the total number of cases is 544 – which is again one of the lowest rates in the country.
Nationally, the total number of cases stands at 298,136 and sadly, 41,969 people have passed away with coronavirus. Although rural areas are still showing fewer cases at the moment compared with cities, scientists warn against complacency in rural areas. Regardless of where we live, we must follow the Government’s guidelines.
The Government has set up a live tracker for coronavirus cases that provides accurate numbers nationally and by local authority, in our case Wiltshire, which you can view here: [link removed].
Keeping in touch with me
I have been trying new ways of staying as accessible as possible during the coronavirus lockdown, both with constituents and will local organisations. On top of holding weekly surgeries for everyone in the constituency I am also having weekly calls with Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Police and our local Clinical Commissioning Group representatives.
My upcoming surgeries are as follows:
* Telephone surgery: 26^th June 2020 (17:00 – 18:00)
* Public service / emergency workers surgery: 3^rd July 2020 (17:00 – 18:00)
* Local business surgery: To be announced in due course.
You can request a slot at either of these surgeries by emailing me at [email protected]
) , with your name, home address and telephone number.
Although coronavirus is my priority at the moment, our other local issues still need attention and I have been working as much as possible to help solve some of these issues. Just some of the subjects I have dealt with the last month include: farming; housing; roads; railways; school meals; wildlife preservation; the aviation industry; planning; pubs and many more.
To touch on one or two in detail, litter continues to be an issue at the sides of many of our roads, but this month we had a huge success as Highways England have allocated a whopping £80,000 for an initiative to help keep counties in the South West beautiful and litter-free. New bins and signs installed under the scheme will help to stop rural littering altogether and make our roads cleaner and safer for everyone.
Recent events around the country have also promoted many to write to me with concerns about policing and public order. I was pleased to be able to debate this topic in Parliament, touching on some of the views that have been raised from constituents. But I will also be speaking with Wiltshire Police to see what more I can do to support their efforts. The right to an open and civilised national debate is part of what makes our country so great, so we must do everything we can to support our Police, who ensure that everyone stays safe while making their voice heard.
We can all do our bit to fight coronavirus
* Avoid all unnecessary travel and unnecessary social interactions, staying two metres apart at all times. Please listen to a Doctor’s plea to stay at home ([link removed]) and why this is so important
* If you have the symptoms of a new and continuous cough or a high temperature you must stay at home and isolate for 7 days. If one person shows symptoms, the whole household must isolate for 14 days
* Use the 111 coronavirus service ([link removed]) online if you need help, only call 111 if your symptoms worsen.
* Work from home if possible.
* Shop responsibly and think of others. There is no need to stockpile as this country has more than enough food and supplies for every single household and this Government has taken action in conjunction with supermarkets to accelerate the delivery of goods to stores across the country.
* Look out for your neighbours and those who you know are vulnerable or elderly in the local community. Whether it is getting a bit of shopping for them, picking up prescriptions or simply having a chat, you can make a real difference to those who now must isolate for weeks on end. You can print off a postcard to advertise you are ready to help neighbours here: [link removed]
* Join local online support groups for your area to see how you can either help or get help -
Wiltshire Council Online Support Group and Advice ([link removed]*F&hc_location=group_dialog)
Chippenham Facebook Support Group ([link removed])
BoA Facebook Support Group ([link removed]) and BoA Town Council ([link removed])
Melksham Facebook Support Group ([link removed]) and Melksham Town Council ([link removed])
Corsham Facebook Support Group ([link removed])
Hilperton and Staverton Support Group ([link removed])
If you have set up or are part of another local group please let me know so I can promote it
Local information and help for those self isolating
*This is being updated as I obtain the information*
Atworth – Atworth Parish Council Contact: Effie Gale-Sides 01225702228
Bradford on Avon – BOA Town Council Contact: 01225864240 or [link removed]
Bradford Leigh – South Wraxall Parish Council Contact: Philippa Edgley 01225868092/07778796644
Broughton Gifford – Broughton Gifford Parish Council Contact: Henry Lumley 07720558982 or Georgina Berry 07947474620
Chippenham – Chippenham Town Council Contact: 01249446699 or
Corsham – Corsham Town Council Contact: 01249702130 or [email protected]
) or [link removed] and for Katherine Park: [link removed]
Hilperton – Hilperton Parish Council Contact: Gary 07920042838 or [link removed]
Holt – The village has been leafleted and preferred contact is by email [email protected]
) or Martin Moyes 01225782444
Lacock and Gastard – Lacock Parish Council Contact: Jane Durrant 07739750630
Limpley Stoke – LiFERAFT Contact: John Adler 01225 722439
Melksham Town and surrounding villages – Melksham Community Contact: 01225809265 or [email protected]
) or [link removed]
Semington – The village has been leafletted and further info at: [link removed]
South Wraxall (Upper) - South Wraxall Parish Council Contact: Gilly Strawford 01225864468/07980012922
South Wraxall (Lower) - South Wraxall Parish Council Contact: Margaret Gill 01225868069/07851006854
Staverton – [link removed]
Westwood – Westwood Village Shop – 01225862117 or we[email protected]
Winsley – Winsley Parish Council Contact - Selina Jobson 07841024739 or [email protected]
My office - 01249704465 or [email protected]
Wiltshire Council - [link removed] or Wiltshire Council Online Support Group and Advice ([link removed]*F&hc_location=group_dialog)
If you are vulnerable:
If you have any of the following health conditions, you may be clinically vulnerable, meaning you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. You are advised to stay at home as much as possible and, if you do go out, take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household or support bubble.
The shielding advice is being updated regularly, so please follow this live link for updated information: [link removed].
How can I help?
As an individual: Many of us will want to help the national effort to beat coronavirus if we are able to do so. There are a number of safe ways that we can all help each other and the NHS at this time beyond following the isolation measures. The Government has created a list of ways you can help here: [link removed].
As a business: Businesses across Wiltshire will be temporarily closed or changing their usual work programmes to adapt to the circumstances. Some may well be in a position to help beat coronavirus, so please follow this link to see whether you can help: [link removed]. We are also calling on able businesses to help build the UK’s testing capacity, please see this link if you think you might be able to help with your business: [link removed].
Where can I find out the latest, accurate information?
Ofcom have found that 46% of people have been exposed to false or fake news on the internet related to coronavirus. There continues to be widespread misinformation on social media and the internet about coronavirus and so we need to use the Government’s factchecked data and information as our base.
Stay updated with the daily press conferences which the Prime Minister and senior Ministers are running and also follow my social media channels through which I will be doing my best to publicise the latest announcements. You can also monitor the below web pages which are being constantly updated to reflect the evolving situation:
* NHS Coronavirus Guidance and Advice ([link removed])
* Guidance for Employees, Employers and Businesses ([link removed])
* Travel Advice ([link removed])
* Guidance for individuals as well as different organisations ([link removed])
* Information on the number of cases, including for each local authority ([link removed])
* Guidance on social distancing for everyone but also for vulnerable people ([link removed])
* Wiltshire Council Coronavirus Advice ([link removed])
Michelle Donelan MP Essential Information Page ([link removed])
Email: michelle.don[email protected]
Telephone: 01249 704465
Write: Michelle Donelan MP, 61 New Road, Chippenham, SN15 1ES
** Twitter ([link removed])
** Facebook ([link removed])
** Website ([link removed])
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