MP and former Ely councillor tells of what it's like to have Covid for Christmas

MP Tom Hunt and (right) flashback to when both stood for local elections in East Cambridgeshire. They were pictured...

MP Tom Hunt and (right) flashback to when both stood for local elections in East Cambridgeshire. They were pictured together at the count at Soham. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt -a former East Cambridgeshire councillor – has revealed he was tested positive for Covid-19 shortly before Christmas and was obliged to self-isolate. 

Mr Hunt said it was the third since the onset of the pandemic that he had been required to self-isolate in his Ipswich flat.  

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MP Tom Hunt who self-isolated with Covid for Christmas - Credit: Archant

“However, for the first time, I can say with certainty that this was because I had Covid-19,” he said. 

Writing in our sister newspaper, the Ipswich Star, Mr Hunt says that having been tested, he was notified shortly before Christmas that he had tested positive and was required to self-isolate.  

“I’ve only just completed my period of self-isolation,” he said. “Sadly, this meant that like many others I had to spend my Christmas Day alone. 

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“Christmas is an important time of year for all of us and not being able to spend it in the normal way with our loved ones has been incredibly difficult for many. 

“However, certainly in my case, I was mostly relieved that I’d got a test, knew that I had Covid-19 and consequently was able to keep out of the way of my 75-year-old father (veteran East Cambs councillor Bill Hunt) on Christmas Day." 

Father and son councillors Bill and Tom Hunt

At the count in East Cambs: Tom Hunt with his father Bill - Credit: Archant

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He added: “As sad as it was not to see my dad on Christmas Day for the first time in 32 years, I can live with it and look forward to being with him next Christmas. 

“What I would really have struggled with would have been any sense that I myself had given him Covid-19, particularly when it looks like he’s only a month or so from getting a vaccine himself.” 

The MP – born and raised in Ely – said that last April, he had voluntarily self-isolated for a week believing that he may have had the virus although “it now seems quite likely this wasn’t the case.  

“In the autumn I was identified as a ‘contact’ by Test and Trace of someone else who had the virus and had to self-isolate for over a week and now I’ve had to self-isolate for a further period of time because I myself was found to have the virus.” 
He said he has spent a total of 25 days self-isolating in his flat during the pandemic.  

“Clearly, especially as my flat has no outdoor space whatsoever, this has hardly been a barrel of laughs,” he said.  

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MP Tom Hunt, a former East Cambs councillor and chief of staff to Mayor James Palmer. He tested positive for Covid-19 and self isolated over Christmas - Credit: Archant

“I’d be lying if I said that it hadn’t impacted my mental health at times - but the reality is that many of my constituents have had it far harder and this is something I’m acutely aware of. 

“Many of my constituents have had to shield alone for weeks on end, denied contact with their loved ones and always fearful that they could catch the virus with consequences that would likely be far more severe than they have been for me (a dry cough and a bit of wheeziness).” 

Mr Hunt said: “Covid-19 continues to present a serious threat to the physical health of many and it is right that we have taken steps to guard against this but it’s also clear that the last year has taken its toll on the mental health of us all. 

“I really think I would struggle to find a single person in town whose mental health hasn’t been impacted at least to some extent by the developments of the past year.  

“As we look to recover from the pandemic, it's very important this is something that we never lose sight of.” 

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has secured an adjournment debate on the Orwell Bridge in Parliament. Picture: P

MP Tom Hunt in the House of Commons - Credit: Archant

The MP added: “Whether due to extended periods of isolation, losing a job or extreme anxiety over a business someone may have spent their whole life building, the experience of the last year has been harrowing for many of my constituents. 

“However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and I do truly believe that soon we will be through this.” 

In November, Mr Hunt joined the Covid Recovery Group (CRG) at the House of Commons and abstained on a vote for a second lockdown.  

The CRG is a group of Conservatives who opposed the Government’s decision to introduced a second period of lockdown.  

Mr Hunt said: “2020 has been a very grim year but looking ahead to 2021, with developments regarding the vaccines, there are strong reasons to be hopeful that 2021 will be far better.” 

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