CORONAVIRUS: Lancashire county councillor and family following new precautionary self-isolation advice
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Lizzi Collinge and her family are staying at home after all but one of the household developed coughs in recent days.
Yesterday, the government said that anybody displaying even mild respiratory symptoms - or other indications of possible coronavirus, such as a fever - should self-isolate for seven days from the point at which the problems first appeared.
“In all likelihood, it’s probably a normal respiratory infection - but we didn’t want to be infecting people with that at a time when the coronavirus is spreading,” County Cllr Collinge told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
“I feel very lucky that both my husband and I can work from home. We’ve also got a garden to go out in and have only recently done a big shop.
“But when I think back 15 years to when I was working in coffee shops, I’d have been worried about whether I could have afforded to stay off. Even with statutory sick pay from day one [as announced in this week’s budget], it will still be very difficult for some people.
“We’ve got to make sure we develop a system that allows people to do the right thing, without damaging their finances.”
County Cllr Collinge - who suffers form asthma - lives with her husband and their six-year-old son and 20-month-old daughter. She is hoping that her son’s school will be able to send work home for him to do, so that he and other children in a similar situation, do not fall behind.
Meanwhile, she is urging County Hall to rethink its schedule - and conduct only essential meetings during the current crisis. The building usually hosts several committee meetings each week, attended by councillors and officers - and open to the general public and press.
“I’m very impressed with the planning that is being done by the county council over coronavirus - they have some great, expert people there.
“But I hope this gives them a push to think about allowing meetings to be attended remotely, because the technology is there.”
Last year, the authority’s internal scrutiny committee heard that it was not possible to act upon a similar request from a task group of councillors exploring how to make becoming an elected representative more accessible for women - because national legislation does not permit voting by any member who is not in the room.
LID DEMS DITCH DOORSTEP CAMPAIGNING
Preston’s Liberal Democrat group has stopped all face-to-face canvassing amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The party said on Twitter that it is suspending door-to-door campaigning “until further notice” - but will continue its efforts and remain contactable via phone and online.
Lib Dem group leader on Preston City Council, John Potter, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that he fully supported a call by the Electoral Commission for May’s local elections to be postponed.