As of today I am working from home and will not be attending meetings until further notice. I have taken this decision because I believe that it is in the interests of the community that direct social contact, which places people in close proximity with each other, be reduced as far as possible, so as to reduce transmission of the disease.
I am also taking account, of course, of the fact that I am over 70 and therefore in a vulnerable category. I want to emphasise, however, that I think that there is a common interest in people of all ages in reducing opportunities for the virus to spread. I don’t want to be an agent spreading the virus within the community.
While many cases are mild, COVID-19 has proved to be a dangerous disease, not only for older people and those with particular conditions, but also for many people in younger age groups. In Milan today, at least one major hospital is not providing ventilators to people over 60, because there are so many people under that age who need them.
Pressures on the NHS
In the UK we have fewer acute beds, Intensive Care beds and specialist respiratory beds than in Italy and most other Western European countries, and we in Devon risk a particularly severe crisis because of the age profile of our population.
I think it is in all our interests to minimise contact, including meetings, in order to help slow the progression of the virus. We should all make the decisions that fit our situations and remember the need to support those around us who are in need of help.
While I am working from home, I will of course be available as usual by email and phone if you need any kind of assistance.