Flu, Covid and Penicuik

Tuesday October 27th 2020

Christine Grahame

Christine Grahame MSP writes her monthly column for Midlothian View

I hope by now all of you who are in line for the flu vaccine have had it or at least have an appointment date. Don’t give it a miss. I never do, having caught flu a few years back and finding myself quite ill for two whole weeks. If you’ve had flu you’ll never confuse it with the common cold but at least this dreadful covid has made more of us go for the vaccine.

If you’re still having difficulty fixing an appointment, do let me know.

October, and many of us are back to hunkering down as covid finds its second wind. Already there are issues about travel restrictions across some health board areas of Scotland: Lothians for one which of course included Midlothian. The designation of an area is to change into local authority areas which ought to work in the interests of Midlothian depending on how we behave.

After all the closure of restaurants, pubs and travel restrictions is all in our own hands, literally, by cleaning them and surfaces and wearing face coverings and keeping those two metres apart.

Speaking of businesses, I had a meeting with some businesses and representatives from the council (virtually of course) to discuss how we could take covid as an opportunity to rethink our town centre: Penicuik precinct and the Square for example.

Now I’m not one for thinking that meetings are the be-all and end-all. Just because you meet and talk doesn’t mean anything changes but I have hopes that we can take some baby steps in first of all helping the local restaurants and pubs. We have set some wheels in motion but it’s early days so more of that next time.

Speaking of wheels in motion, they don’t seem to be moving at all with regard to the Council keeping its promises to Penicuik Athletic Youth Football Club. The much-promised revamping of the pitch has not materialised though apparently the money is in place. So bad are the officials at responding that I have had to raise a formal complaint and if that doesn’t stir them up, then it’ s off to the Ombudsman. In the meantime, a young lad has cut himself badly on the ragged fencing. Do I think that this will impact on the officials? I’m not holding my breath.

In the meantime, Parliament resumes after a recess, though there has been no break for myself and my staff handling hundreds of emails each day. Currently we have over five hundred “live” cases, many covid related, but not all. There are still folk needing rehoused, worrying about their elderly parents and their care packages but most are as a result of the pandemic and the various rules imposed. This week a five-tier system will be introduced and I’ll keep you up to date on what this means for you on my website.

In the meantime remember FACTS: Face coverings, Avoid crowded places, Clean hands and surfaces, Two metres and Self isolate if you have symptoms and take a test (but don’t use public transport and if you can’t get there any other way, order a home testing kit) and please stay safe.

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