Politicians in Milton Keynes react to coronavirus lockdown

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Councillors have responded to the Prime Minister’s announcement of a lockdown to stop the coronavirus outbreak from overwhelming the NHS.

Boris Johnson, in his address on Monday evening, said he “must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home.”

It’s going to be tough, a point accepted by Milton Keynes Council leader Pete Marland.

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Cllr Marland said: “The next few weeks and months will be tough for everyone, but the action is necessary to save lives.

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“Stay home, protect others and save lives.

“The council is working hard to maintain vital services and help the most vulnerable, and that work will continue thanks to our dedicated colleagues.

“We all need to work together to beat this. We can and we will.”

Labour councillor Paul Williams (Lab, Central MK) tweeted: “Well done Boris. Much better. Pleased non-essential shops will now have to close. Tough times, but we will all get through this. It’ll be one hell of a party once it’s over!

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“We can all play our part in this fight. Please, follow the Government’s instructions and stay at home unless it’s absolutely *essential*.”

The reason behind the lockdown is to stop the invisible virus crossing from person to person. The fewer people everyone comes into contact with, the fewer infections and deaths there will be.

And Cllr Ric Brackenbury (Campbell Park & Old Woughton) tweeted: “Lockdown it is! I can’t oppose though, it’s the people who are ignoring rules who are endangering everyone else.”

But there are also concerns over how clear the message is, with construction workers allowed to go to work.

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Robert Jenrick MP, the secretary of state for housing, communities & local government, tweeted: “If you are working on site, you can continue to do so. But follow Public Health England guidance on social distancing.”

But Cllr Martin Gowans (Bletchley East) said: “This seems quite daft as such a general exemption. The kind of house building that takes place on my estate can, should and must slow down.”

Prime Minister Johnson said people will only be allowed to leave their home for limited purposes, with the police due to get powers to fine people who break the rules.

The limited purposes are infrequent shopping for basic necessities, one form of exercise a day and for any medical need to provide care or help to a vulnerable person.

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Travelling to and from work is also a reason for travelling but the Government says “only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from work.”

“That’s all – these are the only reasons you should leave your home.”

Some people may be worried by the latest restrictions.

Kate Jarman, the director of corporate affairs at MK Hospital said: “It’s ok to feel scared and anxious.

“It’s ok to be worried about your mental health and wellbeing – especially if the current restrictions remove some of your coping mechanisms/ exacerbate triggers.

“You are not on your own.

“You don’t need to go out to reach out.”