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Coping with COVID-19 and a New Way of Living and Working

There really isn’t much positive to say in relation to Covid-19. As we face into the unknown, people are suffering and consumed with worry. The safety of people is our top priority, as we face an immediate and very real emergency for humanity.

I’m an MEP, ecologist and environmental activist, but I am also a worried mother and daughter. These are unsettling times and we are witnessing a new world evolving in tragic circumstances.

We are in the midst of an immediate and very real crisis for humanity. First and foremost in my thoughts are those directly impacted. People are suffering and consumed with worry. I’m also taking hope though, in emerging news around a slowing of the spread of the virus in China, where it was particularly virulent.

Containment and isolation measures in place at home and internationally, will have positive results in terms of flattening the curve on the spread of Covid-19. But we must continue with these measures and be prepared for very tough times ahead.

At the moment I’m in self-isolation, along with two of my three daughters who travelled back from Brussels with me last week. Self isolation is challenging. We’re essentially in lockdown, relying on neighbours to drop provisions to the door, adhering to strict social distancing.

None of us are, thankfully, showing any symptoms. The official advice at time of print, is that those self-isolating after travel, with no symptoms, can get out and walk alone while social distancing. We’ve been taking that a step further. My eldest daughter has special needs, and it wouldn’t be appropriate for her to walk alone at the moment. She really does need to get out of the house to keep her mood and health stable. We’ve been managing to restrict our outings to late in the day, to remote rural spots where there’s no contact with other walkers.

After watching the scenes over the weekend, we all have to take responsibility for our own social distancing and other measures including hand-washing and coughing into a tissue or elbow. In a way, I think we all need to act as if we are carriers of this lethal virus. At the moment we are allowed to get out in the air for walks, but medical experts are pleading with us to do that in a responsible way. If we don’t, we are inevitably going to be put in to complete and enforced lockdown, which will be very challenging for many people.

So, if you’re getting out for a walk, and you arrive at a popular spot that’s thronged with cars and people, don’t go there. There are enough places to walk in this beautiful country. Find somewhere where you can park at a safe distance from other cars, and walk at a safe distance from other walkers.

Taking these decisions may save lives, but they may also flatten the curve on Covid-19, so that we can all get back to some semblance of normality as quickly as possible.

These are unsettling times and we’re witnessing a new world evolving in tragic circumstances. I look forward, in hope, to us getting back on our feet.
For now though, as a Member of the European Parliament, I’ll be joining both my European and Irish Green colleagues, including Ciarán Cuffe in the European Parliament, Waterford Green TD Marc Ó Cathasaigh and Waterford Green Councillors Jody Power and Laura Swift, in working together with other member states and channels nationally and locally, supporting frontline people who are working tirelessly to flatten the curve on the spread of Covid-19, and maintaining the necessary levels of safe passage and organisation needed around areas such as the transport of food and medical supplies and the protection of business and economy.

Like many of you, I’m currently working from home. With the help of my colleagues I’m quickly finding innovate ways to liase online and respond to the various challenges we’re presented with.

We’re working to get us all back on track as quickly as possible, whilst acknowledging the human tragedy at the heart of this crisis.

Closer to home, I’ll continue to share updates on advice and measures being taken on the ground in Ireland and at a European level.

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