Star comment: It's so important we follow the rules
The sun is shining, the birds are singing and spring is in the air.
In normal times, vast numbers would be heading to the park or pub, to a restaurant or to see friends as they celebrate the changing of the seasons.
But these are not normal times and engaging in such otherwise healthy pastimes during a moment of national crisis would be deeply irresponsible.
The UK is bracing itself for a torrid week or two as the number of deaths peak. Loved ones will be lost as Covid-19 claims thousands more victims. People will die before their time.
It is against that backdrop that we must hold our nerve. Now more than ever before we need to stay strong and stay indoors. It is not easy, of course, to ignore nature’s call when trees are full of blossom and temperatures are moving up towards 20C. Yet if we succumb to temptation we will be putting ourselves at risk. Worse, we will be helping to spread an indiscriminate disease that is ruthlessly efficient.
By and large, people have observed social distancing and observed the quasi curfew that exists. They are also well aware that the UK could go further, banning our daily outdoors exercise, closing such public spaces as parks and introducing measures that are more draconian. The Government might do such things in order to protect some people from themselves, but more importantly to safeguard the NHS, the elderly and the vulnerable.
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The Queen struck precisely the right tone when she made a rare public broadcast on the subject of Covid-19. She urged for self-discipline and restraint as we make a collective effort to minimise risk. The rules are simple: stay home.
Of course, that is not easy to do for the large family living in a tower block, for those who are unhappy or at risk at home, for those whose mental health deteriorates when they find themselves in confined spaces. And yet the costs of going outside are simply too high to countenance. NHS workers are being exposed to deadly risks on a daily basis. They have loved ones too. And so with them in mind, we must continue to follow the Government’s advice and stay indoors.
Thousands of health workers and carers are placing themselves on the front line.
The Midlands is the UK’s second worst Covid-19 hotspot, just behind London, and people are putting themselves in harm’s way to save others.
The tragic death at Walsall Manor Hospital of nurse and mother-of-three Areema Nasreen, aged 36, shows just how high the stakes are. And we all have a responsibility to help save others like Areema as we head through the worst of Covid-19.
The West Midlands is gearing up to a challenging period with hundreds of medics being assigned to the Nightingale Hospital at Birmingham’s NEC. In Shropshire, efforts are being made at care homes and hospitals to cope with demand.
Increases in personal protective equipment are filtering through to frontline staff, though clearly it has taken too long to deliver them.
We all have it within our power to minimise the number of casualties in the health and care sector.
It is important to show support by applauding on Thursdays, but it is even more important that we follow the rules.
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