Last weekend I tested positive for Coronavirus. Having felt progressively more uncomfortable on Saturday and Sunday I drove to Deeside Industrial Estate, took the test and got the results back on Monday.
I had had a bad chest and cough, a headache and my muscles ached so it was not really a surprise. I have not had the symptoms as bad as others (for example as I write this my breathing isn’t affected) but it is still pretty uncomfortable and tiring. I have been in bed for much of this week.
I had to phone my work and let them know, although I am confident I was not in London when I was infected. But the staff in Parliament allowed me to register for a proxy vote, so another MP can vote on my behalf. And I was also out on the list to join proceedings via video.
This has brought home to me directly just how infectious the virus is and how unpleasant it is, even for less severe cases such as mine. The numbers have been going up in Cheshire for some time, and neighbouring areas in the Wirral and over the border in north Wales have seen restrictions reintroduced.
In the previous week we had been voting on enhanced measures and many constituents had complained to me particularly about the 10pm curfew rule, where pubs and bars and restaurants must all close by that time. The government had not published any basis to support the 10pm cut off, and it was damaging hospitality businesses who had been struggling right through the summer.
What annoyed our pubs and other venues is that they had done all that was asked of them: reduced capacity, table service only, perspex screens. Yet there seemed no basis for the 10pm cut off.
The problem is that in the Commons, we are asked to vote on an entire bundle of measures by the government, in a single, take-it-or-leave-it vote.
And I am clear that we need measures in place to combat the virus so I won’t vote against the package. I don’t agree with the handful of emails that say the virus is a hoax or a conspiracy.
But it is frustrating that the government will not allow MPs to reject or approve individual measures.
For now I am grateful to my staff for keeping the show on the road. And I know I am lucky: too many folks have died of this terrible disease and we can’t give up the fight now.