Last updated: 26/06/2020
Government guidance here:
Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do after 4 July >
Advise links below include:
General health advice from Public Health England >
Some legal advice help pages >
Some NHS and charities Health advice:
Advice from Public Health England is regularly updated here >
Advice for pregnant women from the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists here >
Advice at work:
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In the Sunderland North Wards - Castle and Redhill - here >
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Stay at home if you or anyone in your house has coronavirus symptoms
Stay at home for 14 days if you or anyone in your house has either:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- loss of or a change in your normal sense of smell and taste
Do NOT go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
How long to stay at home:
- if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
- if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
- if you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
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You can read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or on the Sunderland Echo website
I never expected to have something in common with a 22-year-old Manchester United and England professional football player, yet here we are.
Like Marcus Rashford, I grew up on Free School Meals (FSM) and similarly I have been using my experiences growing up to make a change for the children growing up today.
I still remember the stigma of being separated from my friends to queue in a separate line with other children on FSMs.
That is why, since I became an MP in 2005, I have campaigned for Universal Free School Meals (UFSMs) and set up the All-Party Parliamentary Group on School Food in 2010 to campaign for UFSMs, breakfast clubs, high quality school food standards and food provision over the summer holidays to tackle ‘holiday hunger’.
This is something that has been brought into public consciousness recently by the intervention of Marcus Rashford, but as he has acknowledged: this isn’t a new Coronavirus-related problem.
We have known for years that, on the approximately 170 days a year when the school gates are shut, some children will not receive regular, healthy or substantial meals. This has a negative impact on their development and learning.
With the effects of the pandemic expected to stay with us all for many months or even years to come, it was callous for the Government to expect that all families on low incomes would be able to provide substantial and healthy food during the holidays. Many of these families will be on furlough, not knowing if their job will still exist when the scheme comes to an end or will have had their finances significantly squeezed because of lockdown.
I welcome the Government’s U-turn, that will see all 1.3 million children eligible for FSMs able to continue accessing food provision for free during the summer holidays. But the Prime Minister’s admission that he wasn’t aware of the campaign until the day of the U-turn is testament to his Government’s tone-deafness to children growing up in poverty.
Because of this, I will continue to campaign until no child goes without food in the UK.
You can read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo Column below, or on the Sunderland Echo website.
This week, some lockdown restrictions have been lifted. You can now spend time outdoors, in a group of up to six people from different households whilst maintaining social distancing; you can visit car showrooms and some children have returned to school.
I know that these changes will come with a mixture of both anxiety and relief. We all want to see our friends and family again and return to some sense of normality; but if we are to do that, we must do so safely.
Now is not the time for complacency, or for a drive to Barnard Castle to test your eyesight.
I know that the warm weather can be tempting and the fact that the Prime Minister’s own advisor was seen to be breaking lockdown rules makes it seem like the Government’s guidelines are advisory, rather than compulsory.
But if we do want to hug our friends and family again, if we want to attend large gatherings again and if we want to continue to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed, then we must continue to follow the Government’s guidelines strictly.
That means staying home as much as possible. Where you do go out, for business or leisure, you must stay 2 metres away from people who are not from your household, where possible.
By doing this, we will continue to protect ourselves and others.
I would like to thank everyone who has made unbelievable sacrifices to follow the Government’s lockdown guidance. My thoughts are with those who have missed out on key life milestones, missed out on spending time with friends and family, and tragically missed out on saying goodbye to loved ones.
Whilst it feels like we are beginning to gain back some freedom, please remember that the Coronavirus pandemic is not over yet.
We still all have a part to play in protecting ourselves, our loved ones and our NHS.
With that in mind, I continue to put pressure on the Government to safely lift lockdown restrictions, in a way that follows the science and the reality on the ground.
For example, the North East has the highest rate of Coronavirus infections in England, so to lift lockdown restrictions based on Coronavirus rates in the South West (which now has the lowest rate of infections) would be irresponsible.
I continue to make representations to the Government on these very important issues. My team and I are busy helping constituents navigate the guidance and the various furlough and support schemes that have been introduced and are helping constituents fight for their rights to access what they are entitled to.
If any of my constituents have any questions or concerns about the lockdown restrictions or anything else, then please do email [email protected] and I will do all that I can to help you.
Sharon has received a response to her letter to the Prime Minister regarding Nissan and Coronavirus, from Nadhim Zahawi MP, Minister for Business and Industry.
You can read the letter by clicking on the image above
Regarding the news that a Nightingale Hospital will be developed at IAMP in Washington, Sharon said:
“The announcement that a temporary hospital will be developed at IAMP truly brings home the scale of the Coronavirus. It is a sobering thought that this facility will be needed and shows just how seriously individuals and businesses must take this issue.
“This dedicated Coronavirus facility will help save lives and will take some of the pressure off local hospitals, such as Sunderland Royal, South Tyneside District Hospital, the QE in Gateshead and Newcastle hospitals, and ensure that local people are cared for locally.
“My thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones, as well as other individuals who have contracted the virus. I pay tribute to all those working in the NHS who are treating and caring for those with Coronavirus. We all have a duty to help prevent the spread of the virus and that is why I urge everyone to stay at home if they are able to.”
Sharon signs letter calling on Secretary of State for Transport to urgently support the Tyne and Wear Metro
Sharon has joined 10 other North East MPs in writing to Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport, asking him to implement an urgent support package for Tyne and Wear Metro similar to the support offered to bus and national rail services.
That letter joint can be read here:
As many of the signatories have also done, Sharon wrote to Grant Shapps MP personally, in order to raise the same issue.
Sharon's letter can be read here:
‘’The limits on public movement rightly put in place to combat this awful disease have had a profound impact on passenger numbers and fare income for the Tyne and Wear Metro.
‘’For those of my constituents who are key workers either in the NHS or other frontline services, or working in the supermarket and delivery sectors, and rely on public transport, it is essential that the Metro continues to operate.
‘’The Government has rightly put in support measures for bus and national rail services and must now urgently do the same for the Metro.’’
You can read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo Column below or on the Sunderland Echo website
It has been just over a week since the Prime Minister addressed the nation and placed limitations on when people can leave the house.
As a reminder, people are only allowed to leave their home for the following purposes:
- Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible;
- One form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of your household;
- Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
- Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
The Covid-19 pandemic is an uncertain time for everyone. People are anxious about their health, their finances and their jobs. We all have a part to play in not spreading the virus, ensuring our NHS is not overwhelmed and enabling the most vulnerable in society to be protected for at least 12 weeks.
I was therefore alarmed to receive so many emails from my constituents who have been told by their employer that they must still go to work, despite not being classed under the latest guidelines from the Government as a “key worker” or working for an “essential business”.
Due to the large volume of constituents who have written to me about this, I have published an open letter to non-essential businesses that are still operating in my constituency.
I ask them to consider 5 things:
1) Can the work be done from home?
2) Is the business operation absolutely necessary, is it classed as an “essential business”?
3) Is it contributing towards the national effort to slow the spread of Covid-19?
4) Does the business support the NHS in the response to Covid-19, or any of the critical sectors as outlined by the Government?
5) What is worth more: the health of employees and their family, or the short-term financial gain from continued business operations?
We all have a part to play in preventing the spread of Covid-19 and that includes businesses.
I know that the guidance from the Government in the majority of areas, not just on businesses, lacks clear clarification.
That is why I have written to the Government to ask for clarification on a number of issues on behalf of constituents including guidance for non-essential businesses, people employed by agencies and those on zero hours contracts.
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way all of us live our lives, but I will continue to represent the constituents of Washington and Sunderland West and help them in any way that I am able to as the local MP. If any of my constituents have any concerns or require any assistance, then please do contact me on [email protected] with your full name and postal address.