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My Statement on Nadine Dorries: Provide Tests for All with Coronavirus Symptoms

Nevena Bridgen

DISCLAIMER:  All views and opinions expressed here are solely my own.

All I am asking for is that my husband Andrew Bridgen who is experiencing symptoms for days, mom and baby tested for coronavirus. I am asking for tests to become available for all people with symptoms in Britain.

My husband was not at a private event. He was in his workplace, at the parliament. He should be able to get tested the same way those who were in proximity to Nadine Dorries were. The testing should not be reserved ministers and Secretaries of State.

If Nadine Dorries is responsible for patient safety, how come she is not then responsible for the health of her colleagues? She should have been more responsible toward her colleague who has a baby at home. It is appalling that my husband got exposed to coronavirus at his workplace and that no one came to his help. Instead, he’s been ignored, with the rest of his family.

Since my husband Andrew Bridgen got exposed at his workplace, he was supposed to be provided medical care immediately the same way Nadine Dorries and her mother were. Equality in access to tests and medical treatments in time of a coronavirus crisis, matters.

Does only the Health Minister get a test and special treatment for her and her family while the rest of us are left on our own with no medical assistance that should be available to all who are experiencing symptoms?

It’s absolutely unbelievable they’re not letting someone with symptoms, in contact with someone who tested positive and is living with the most vulnerable populations to get tested. 

I am not worried for myself but for my mother who is 75 years old with a heart condition and diabetes. I am worried about my son, Blake. I am worried about my husband who is feeling unwell, who cannot get tested and no one is coming to help us.

While the crisis was unrolling in Italy and things had begun to spiral out of control it was not hard to predict what was coming to the UK and the rest of the world.

Ten days ago, I was expecting that the parliament would be closed. My husband, MP Andrew Bridgen called early on the government to shut down the parliament and protect all people. He was expecting such measures to get put into because the parliament brings people from all over the world. Tourists come from all sides of the world, and MPs sit inside a closed chamber together in tight quarters. But it is not just about them. If they get infected, they then go home to their families, and they also meet their constituents. Given these risks, Parliament should have closed.

I was supposed to travel to Belgrade for a performance in the middle of the ongoing crisis, unsure of what was going to happen and what measures would be put in place. I wanted to protect my baby and mom from jumping on planes and going through airports, and Andrew told me that they would be safe in Leicestershire. We agreed: my mom and baby would stay in Leicesterhire, since my 75 year old mom is in a high-risk category. 

I am an artist, and I went through who knows how many airports, and I did not get coronavirus so far, because I took extreme measures of prevention, wearing gloves and masks and cleaning my hands regularly. I stayed away from people. Why did Nadine Dorries, the Health Minister not do the same? This is poor judgment in my opinion. 

I am sorry that Nadine got sick and that her mom is unwell, I wish them a prompt recovery. I also have a mom and a baby, and at this moment I have no one to turn to and ask for help with coronavirus testing despite the fact that my husband has symptoms for several days and is lying in bed alone, feeling unwell.

Nadine Dorries didn’t do it on purpose. She didn’t know about her condition last Thursday. But she absolutely sat next to my husband, Andrew Bridgen in the Tea room and did not report the contact so that my husband could get tested in time with everyone else.

My husband gave the statement for the Guardian stating: “I can assure you that Nadine Dorries came and sat next to me at the end of my table I wonder why she would deny this now?

My husband got locked himself away at one end of the house, which is particularly upsetting when our 18-month-old son is crying. Blake is toddling and knows how to open doors. But Andrew has to keep him locked out. Despite all that,  they cannot get a test and they have now been waiting for over 48 hours. The government must provide tests for all people with symptoms in a timely manner. 

Everyone with symptoms should be able to get a test for coronavirus. Everyone. I am now in a situation where I won’t be able to approach my husband, and my mom, and baby, because if I get sick – who is going to take care of Blake?

Serbia is a poor country, poorer than the UK, and the Serbian President took the necessary preventive measures with far fewer cases than the UK. When they saw what was happening in Italy they immediately understood how dangerous this is. They took the measures, they closed down the big events, even in the theater, my performance got canceled. And I thank them for that because they didn’t put me in a situation that would jeopardize my health and the health of the people.

America has declared a national emergency. It is establishing the walk through testing centers. What is Britain waiting for?

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