Island Labour has asked the Isle of Wight Council to publish its contingency plans for combating the spread of the coronavirus and protecting vulnerable Islanders.
With a large elderly population, the Isle of Wight will need robust preparation for any escalation of the virus. Actions taken to combat the virus’s spread may also lead to difficulties for those with children of school age should the decision be taken to close schools for an extended period.
On Saturday night, it was confirmed that 1 person on the Isle of Wight had tested positive for coronavirus. However, there has been huge secrecy around who that person is, where they live, who they had come into contact with and how they managed to get back to the Island following a foreign trip.
Island Echo understands the individual to be a local woman who had only just returned from holiday.
Julian Critchley, Chair of Island Labour, has said:
“It would be useful to know what contingency plans the council is putting in place to maintain adult social care for those Islanders who rely on the services, in the event of significant staff sickness, particularly as many of those relying on social care will be in high-risk groups.
“Island Labour also understands that national school closures are looking more likely in the next few weeks. Again, it would be useful to know what plans the council has to ensure that children who receive free school meals will not go hungry if their school is forced to close for any length of time.
“Obviously, we’re all hoping that the worst predictions won’t come to pass. However, some disruption seems increasingly likely, and undoubtedly the council is already planning for it, in order to minimise risks to Islanders. After a number of conversations with anxious Islanders, I think it would help ease minds if key contingency plans could be set out as soon as possible.
“It will be important, over this difficult time, to recognise that vulnerable groups will still require help and support, and their families will be relieved to know how the council proposes to provide that support.”