KATE OSBORNE: Thanks to everyone who is stepping up to the challenge of coronavirus

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since my last column. At the time of writing this, I’m back home in the North East with my family after spending the past two weeks self-isolating in London after testing positive for coronavirus.

Thank you so much for all the help, support, and positive comments that I have received. It was a long and lonely time, but I’ve got no symptoms now and I’m pleased to say I’m through it.

This week MPs would have been winding up their business in Westminster for Easter recess. Normally, Easter recess would be packed full of events across the constituency, but not this time. My main focus will be on supporting all of my constituents and businesses whose lives have been turned upside down by the outbreak of the coronavirus. Primarily this will involve dealing with the hundreds of individual enquiries that I have received over the past few weeks and I will do everything I can to help.

I know that this is an anxious time for you all, particularly those fighting the coronavirus on the front line. I’m incredibly thankful to everyone working in our NHS, particularly in our hospitals, our GPs, community nurses, and all those supporting in social care who are continuing to support the most vulnerable in our society.

Thank you to each and every one who works in our NHS and all the key workers who are helping to save lives. The single most important action we can take, in fighting Covid-19, is to stay at home, ease the critical demand on our NHS, and save lives. Please don’t leave your home, unless you are travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home, or if you are shopping for essentials, getting one form of exercise a day or for any medical need.

Thank you also to the key workers in our schools, the police, and those working in the food supply sector and shops. I also want to thank those retired doctors and nurses who have chosen to return to work in our hospitals.

The coronavirus outbreak has seen people from all across the country step up and show remarkable acts of kindness across South Tyneside and beyond, as unsung heroes in our communities, step forward to help battle the coronavirus pandemic and help those in need. South Tyneside Council’s three established food banks, Hebburn Helps, Hospitality and Hope, and Churches Together, continue to provide a safe support to residents most in need and I know that other local food banks have been set up in other areas across the constituency who are providing valuable support to people throughout this ongoing crisis.

The next few weeks and months will be very challenging and worrying for many. I know that a great deal of uncertainty and disruption has been caused to you all, but you can be rest assured that my door is always open, and I will always do whatever I can to support you as your MP.

We will come through this, and there is a good chance we can come through this even stronger than where we were at the start.

Stay home and stay safe.