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Statement from Plymouth Liberal Democrats concerning the Coronavirus pandemic

March 13, 2020 4:47 PM

As a local political party, we have been paying very close attention to the unfolding developments concerning the new strain of coronavirus, COVID-19. The World Health Organisation has declared a global pandemic, calling for "urgent and aggressive action". Here in Plymouth, at the time of writing, we are fortunate that our city is still free of any confirmed cases. However, the City Council's Director of Public Health, Ruth Harrell, stated in her update yesterday that it is unlikely that we will remain so, and expects that we will see cases in Plymouth at some point.

Following careful consideration of the latest health advice and risks, the Federal Board of the national Liberal Democrat Party decided on Wednesday evening to cancel federal conference this weekend as a precaution to enable social distancing behaviour by our members. Many other organisations are cancelling conferences and gatherings, including medical professional bodies, and many companies are advising their staff to work from home where possible. There is a very strong case for social distancing to slow the rise of positive cases, and we would encourage people to consider this when making plans.

The Government's latest press briefing does not require urgent social distancing. However, as the national cumulative number of cases continue to rise rapidly, we continue to be highly concerned. This evening the Prime Minister has taken the decision to postpone local elections, including Police and Crime Commissioner and Mayoral elections, until next year. This follows a clear request from the Electoral Commission to make a speedy decision on this matter. Consequently, we have taken the decision to cancel canvassing activity planned for this weekend (14th March). We are currently seeking advice, with the purpose of reviewing plans for any further local campaigning activity. Our priority is to do as much as we can to protect vulnerable individuals within our city.

Plymouth Liberal Democrats