Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Leader Ken Rhatigan is calling on residents to join the fight against Coronavirus and save lives by complying with the government’s ‘stay home’ restrictions.

“It is vital that everybody takes this crisis very seriously. We must all follow the government guidance to protect ourselves and others and ultimately, to turn the tide against the virus,” he said.

“The majority of borough residents have already shown great willingness to protect their families and their communities from the spread of Covid-19, but every single person must play their part to stop it in its tracks.

“I know how strong our borough’s sense of community is and I know that we will all support this life-saving action. Unless you are a key worker, you must stay at home as much as possible and keep a safe distance from others outdoors. Breaking the rules is not an option at this critical time.

“As a community, we must do all we can to support and protect our fantastic NHS and help save lives. I really want to thank all our hospital staff for their tireless work around the clock. They are working above and beyond to help other people during this emergency.”

Cllr Rhatigan also praised the commitment of those workers still carrying out their duties in supermarkets, pharmacies and all frontline workers, including emergency services and the borough council staff and Basingstoke Voluntary Action who are coordinating support for vulnerable residents during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It is heartening to see such solidarity in the borough already – a large number of volunteers are helping to support the elderly and vulnerable in our communities and my thanks to each of them.

“It is crucial that we all follow the Prime Minister’s message to stay at home except for exercise in safe spaces, food and medical essentials and delivering supplies to the socially isolated who can’t leave their homes. Please do not panic buy food and household items so that everyone can get what they need.

“Our beautiful borough parks remain open for your daily exercise but, following government lines, the play areas are now shut and you should not be meeting friends or family members who do not live in your home.

“Any outdoor gathering will be dispersed.  Our community safety patrol officers will be supporting the police to ensure public safety.

“By staying apart we can all pull together to beat this virus and save lives.”