The Mayor of Sheffield City Region, Dan Jarvis MP, has released a statement on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, encouraging people to work to contain the disease.

It comes less than 24 hours after Prime minister Boris Johnson asked people to limit contact with elderly relatives, avoid pubs, clubs and theatres, and work from home where possible.

“The spread of Coronavirus is the most serious public health crisis any of us have faced,” Jarvis said.

“Getting through this crisis and safeguarding the most vulnerable people in our communities is going to require substantial changes to how we lead our lives in the short and medium-term.”

He asked everyone to follow guidance from the National Health Service and Public Health England to help contain the spread.

The guidance includes self-isolating for 14 days if you, or anyone you live with, has a new cough or a temperature, as well as stopping all unnecessary travel and social contact and working from home where possible.

The advice is applicable especially to those over 70, pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions.

Jarvis added: “Both as the MP for Barnsley Central and as the Sheffield City Region Mayor, I am working tirelessly to co-ordinate the response to Coronavirus in South Yorkshire.

“I am receiving regular briefings from South Yorkshire’s Local Resilience Forum and I’m in regular contact with our Directors of Public Health, the NHS, Public Health England, South Yorkshire Police and Government Ministers to make sure that Barnsley and South Yorkshire get the resources we need to deal with the virus.

Read more: All face-to-face University of Sheffield teaching to be suspended due to coronavirus pandemic

“Coronavirus will also have a profound impact on our economy as workers self-isolate. I welcome the announcement by the Department for Work and Pensions to guarantee access to statutory sick pay for all self-employed and gig economy workers and believe that the Government must do everything in its power to support workers and businesses throughout this period of extreme turbulence.

“People who do the right thing and follow the Government guidelines must not face a financial penalty for doing so.”

Jarvis says he is working with the local authorities in South Yorkshire, economic experts and the Chambers of Commerce to keep track of how COVID-19 will impact the local economy. He is also working with small businesses to ensure they can access additional support from central government, while pressuring the Government to provide more for self-employed workers.

Both universities in Sheffield have now stopped all face-to-face teaching, while the Students’ Union announced this morning (Tuesday) that it would be working to vacation hours, while the majority of services are closed or operating online only.

“This will be an extraordinarily difficult time for our people, our communities and our public services. I have every confidence that our brilliant, hard-working NHS staff will rise to the challenge, but we all need to do what we can to support them,” Jarvis added.

“That means shopping responsibly and not stockpiling; supporting our elderly and vulnerable relatives and neighbours who have to self-isolate; and following the official guidelines as they are updated.

“I know our communities here in South Yorkshire will look out for each other – as we saw in the floods last November – and that together we will come through this.”

Read more: Online editorial – Forge Press

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