The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented situation and we must take the strongest measures to slow its spread, as a community we must not be complacent writes Suzanne Webb MP.

We need to take the steps outlined below to save people’s lives.

It is our responsibility, as individuals, to make significant changes to how we live and work until this crisis is over. We need people to do the right thing – to stay at home, protect our NHS and suppress the spread of COVID19.

The following is the official guidance for socially distancing. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

They are to:

1. Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19. These include a high temperature and/or a new and continuous cough

2. Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible

3. Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this.

4. Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather together.

5. Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media 6. Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services Everyone should be trying to follow these measures as much as is practicable.

I strongly advise you to follow the above measures as much as you can and to significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible, particularly if you:

• are over 70

• have an underlying health condition

• are pregnant This week, 1.5 million people will have received letters asking them to remain at home during this crisis as they are particularly vulnerable. This advice is likely to be in place for some weeks.

You should always maintain a two-metre gap from the person next to you.

Many are doing the right things, but it is crucial that everyone follows the guidance.

We must do this to protect our key workers and to protect the vulnerable in order to save lives.

This takes courage and determination, but we must supress the transmission of the virus, before it escalates to a new level.

Do it for your vulnerable loved ones, do it for the heroic NHS.

If we don’t act, people will unnecessarily lose their lives.

I am in regular contact with the Dudley NHS Trust to ensure that I have all the up to date facts and information on this pandemic across the Dudley Borough.

Our hospitals are bringing in more equipment, building up their resource, building up stocks to provide beds and protective equipment for staff.

The Government has also made significant decisions to support employees, employers and businesses with an unprecedented financial package from the Chancellor announced last week.

But we need to pull together, work as a community, keep washing your hands, stay at home, prevent all but essential travel and, when in the community, socially distance ourselves.

The virus is a temporary change to the way we live our lives. If you are not following the advice, then please do, come on board and help save lives.

If the public play their role in this crisis, we will be better served to fight this virus.