Blog: Covid-19

The Covid 19 pandemic has placed Suffolk and our country in an unprecedented and
extremely serious position. The tragic loss of life across society brings heartbreak and worry
to many of our fellow citizens.
This dreadful virus appears able to attack anyone at any time, as demonstrated by our Prime
Minister having to be admitted into intensive care due to the gravity of his condition. I’m sure
all of us wish him and everyone else afflicted by this awful disease a speedy recovery. For
those who have lost loved ones I can only express my heartfelt sympathy and pray that in time
you are able to come to terms with your terrible loss.
There are though during these times of darkness, some incredible acts of kindness, generosity
and dedication. It must be distressing for those health staff working around the clock to care
for seriously ill people and do whatever they can to preserve life. How they cope I really don’t
know but they all deserve our heartfelt thanks and support. The armies of volunteers helping
those in isolation or in vulnerable circumstances are also wonderful people. Many businesses
large and small are changing their routines and adapting their work practises to help fight this
global challenge. I’ve also heard how some schools are helping design and produce personal
protective equipment for front-line workers.
For me, this positive attitude provides some crumbs of comfort and some cause for cautious
optimism. With all sections of society working together, I believe, we will be victorious in this
“battle” against the Coronavirus as we have a common purpose. As Her Majesty The Queen
said in her moving address recently, “We will meet again,” – these and her other comments
were exactly what we all need to lift our spirits.
The government-imposed lockdown is a unique experience for us all – I have never known
anything like it, and it is so pleasing to know the vast majority of Suffolk people are doing as
they are asked. During my frequent discussions with the Chief Constable, the level of reports
of individuals flouting the rules has reduced – which is very good news but we need to keep it
that way to keep ourselves safe and reduce the pressure on our NHS. Sadly, some are seeing
the lockdown as an opportunity to carry on their criminal activities – burglary, scams and fraud
are still taking place and the perpetrators must still be pursued and brought to justice.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in Suffolk Constabulary for what they
are doing to keep us safe in very difficult circumstances. The number of positive messages and
letters of thanks are greatly appreciated – it does do wonders for maintaining morale.
I don’t know when this crisis will end, but already thoughts are turning towards recovery
programmes. The greatest concern following the improvement in public health must be the
state of the economy. Whilst the Chancellor has committed enormous sums of money to help,
I am deeply concerned that unemployment levels might rise significantly. The likelihood is that
it will be the young, unskilled and those on low incomes who will suffer most. We must get
the economy going again and quickly. I believe there is need for a kind of local Marshall Plan
that was launched after the last world war to help rebuild the shattered economies of Europe.
There is already an economic recovery group established in Suffolk involving the private sector
and public bodies and I and the other public sector leaders are ready to play our part in this
vital initiative.
I have always said positive thinking and looking forward with optimism can work wonders. I
know you will all do what you can to help each other and comfort those in distress or who are
bereaved, and, when we escape from this darkness we will rebuild our future in Suffolk
In the meantime, please heed the government instruction – “Stay at home, protect the NHS
and save lives.” I hope you, your families and loved ones stay safe and well.

Published in the East Anglian Daily Times April 2020