We have become increasingly worried about the spread of the coronavirus Co-vid 19 over the past weeks. The virus has spread across most European countries and has affected significantly Italy and Spain, followed by Germany and France.
I would like to send a message of solidarity to everyone working in health and social services across Europe for their dedication and hard work to keep everyone safe, and support the most vulnerable, who are particularly affected by the illness.
A special message of support goes to care professionals in Italy, who have been going through weeks of hardship in care services across the country, and Spain, where the health and social services workforce are in an emergency phase to tackle the crisis.
We have witnessed how panic buying has swept grocery stores across Europe despite appeals for responsible shopping. This will affect most the frail and older people who cannot get what they need. However, there have also been wonderful signs of solidarity across communities through the mobilisation of volunteers and neighbours to collect groceries and provide emotional support over the phone to people with reduced mobility or in isolation.
At ESN we are closely monitoring the situation, following the advice of public authorities in relation to teleworking, and liaising with our partners regarding the activities planned for 2020. For instance, we have recently replaced the meeting of our working group on the sustainable agenda on 2-3 April with an online webinar. Other meetings will take place later in the year when the authorities recommend it.
We continue preparations for the 28th European Social Services Conference planned on 8-10 July. We are working closely with our partners -the city of Hamburg and the German federal ministry to monitor the evolving situation. Assessments take place regularly and if there was a change in the next days we will inform our members and the wider community of partners and friends of ESN.
Once again I would like to thank you for your commitment and support to ESN.
Alfonso Lara Montero, Chief Executive Officer at European Social Network