We are now two weeks into national lockdown and there is a lot of speculation this week about whether the government will relax COVID restrictions over the festive period and what subsequent lockdown measures have to be put in place to reassert control of the virus, says council leader Julian Bell in his latest video message (above).
Now, given where we are with COVID cases continuing to increase in the borough and across London, all that talk, I think, at the moment is hypothetical.
So, for the week ending 15 November, there were 256.3 cases per 100,000 of population in the borough. That’s the highest number of cases that we’ve ever had in a week and nearly a 10% rise from the week before. And that puts us as sixth highest in London. We’ve also, very sadly, had eight COVID related deaths in the borough in the week ending 6 November.
My sincere condolences go out to those who have lost loved ones to this terrible virus.
BE SENSIBLE – AND GET TESTED
This continuing rise in COVID cases and deaths, despite two weeks of Tier 2 restrictions and two weeks of national lockdown, is worrying. We all need to redouble our efforts to follow the rules and get our families and others to do so.
Stay at home unless absolutely necessary; don’t mix with other households; follow the Hands-Face-Space guidance; if you have symptoms, or test positive, you and your household must self-isolate.
We now have three walk-in test centres in the borough: Featherstone Car Park in Southall, Michael Flanders Centre car park in Acton, and the newly opened Gurnell Leisure Centre one to complement the three days a week mobile testing unit that’s been ongoing in Gurnell car park for the period of the pandemic.
So, if you have symptoms, call 119 or go to the NHS website and book a test.
As a borough, as the council, we’ve also signed up for the government’s asymptomatic lateral flow rapid tests. We’re working with the government about how this will work and we’ll publicise details soon.
It won’t be mass testing with the army involved, like Liverpool. But, initially, it is highly likely that we’ll be looking to target those asymptomatic tests at vulnerable residents receiving care, care workers and schools.
Our own council test and trace team are now up and running contacting local residents who have tested positive and have not been contacted by the national contact tracing system.
With the second lockdown in place, anyone needing help should contact our Ealing Together helpline 020 8825 7170, that operates Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. You can also visit the Ealing Together website for information.
We’re not directly delivering food parcels this lockdown, but can arrange help for anyone needing this kind of help, through foodbanks and other voluntary organisations. Or, help in getting priority deliveries from local supermarkets.
HELP FOR BUSINESSES
We’re also now offering help to businesses affected by this second lockdown. Businesses should go to our coronavirus webpage on the council’s website, where details of the grants that are available for businesses are laid out.
Finally, as we approach Christmas and make preparations, can I ask people to support local businesses. Also, if we follow the rules, we can hopefully come out of this lockdown on 2 December and see our non-essential shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs reopen so that we can support them in the run-up to Christmas.