Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams has appealed to everyone across the area to play their part in beating Covid-19, saying, ‘we must all play our part’.
The MP, who is a former public health consultant and a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health, wrote in a blog published on her website: “With Covid infection rates at worrying levels Oldham faces a full lockdown.
“No-one wants this but we are in the last chance saloon and we must all play our part.”
In her blog Mrs Abrahams thanks the majority of people who have been doing the right thing and observing all the local restrictions, adding: “I also want to thank our fantastic local public health team and other council workers for all they are doing to identify and support those who have tested positive to self-isolate.”
Commenting on the current Covid-19 situation Mrs Abrahams added: “At an emergency meeting, MPs Angela Rayner, Jim McMahon and I asked for enhanced monitoring and enforcement of the Covid-19 restrictions.
“We’ve been fortunate so far that the increase in infections hasn’t been accompanied by an increase in hospital admissions. But we can’t guarantee if the infection spike keeps rising and moves from the working age population to older people, that this will not happen in the future.
“As a former public health professional I think the pandemic has exposed the ingrained inequalities across our society.
“As my Oldham Fairness Commission has shown, Oldham has considerable structural inequalities, with a pre-pandemic life expectancy difference of nearly 12 years between the richest and poorest parts of the borough.
“We already know that people from poor communities are worse affected by Covid so is it any wonder when people are living in overcrowded housing where few have a room to themselves, making it nigh impossible to self-isolate from the rest of the household, that the virus affects many if not everyone in that home?
“On top of these inequalities, I think the Government has made some mistakes in the handling of the pandemic. I have said we were too late to lockdown and too early to ease restrictions with the level of virus that was, and still is, circulating in the community.
“Given that we didn’t have a fully operational contact tracing system when the easing of lockdown restrictions was announced back in May, and that the World Health Organisation says this is a pre-requisite before the lifting of any restrictions, this was a massive error.
“Once the national lockdown was lifted, households were allowed to mix, pubs and bars were allowed to open and the confusing message to socially distance by ‘one metre plus’ was instituted, the virus was able to spread again without the public health weaponry to contain it.”
In her blog Mrs Abrahams listed the safety precautions everyone across Oldham and Saddleworth need to take:
- Only socialising with people you live with in your own household or ‘social bubble’- NO visiting other people’s homes or gardens anywhere in Oldham or elsewhere.
- When you’re outside your home, in other indoor public venues, for example in a restaurant or place of worship, you should not socialise with people you do not live. You may attend these venues with people you live with (or are in a support bubble with), but should avoid interaction with individuals or groups from other households.
- Wearing a face mask over your mouth and nose when you are outside your home but indoors, for example, in a shop, place of worship, or travelling on public transport
- If you have tested positive, you need to self-isolate for 10 days and everyone in your household needs to self-isolate for 14 days