A lot has happened over the last week since I last updated you, says council leader Julian Bell in his latest video message (above). What seemed to be a north east London problem of high rates of COVID infections has rapidly changed into a London-wide, exponential surge in COVID cases that has resulted in London, rightly, moving into Tier 3 restrictions on Wednesday of this week.
Ealing’s rates of infection were much better than the rest of London, but they are still rising rapidly. In the week ending 13 December, we had 251 cases per 100,000 of population. That’s a 43.7% increase on the previous week, leaving Ealing with the 27th highest weekly rate in London. The average for London is 358.7 cases per 100,000, with the highest rate being 740.9 in Havering.
The move to Tier 3 meant that all restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars had to close except for takeaway services. Shops, however, remain open but I’d ask you to always wear a face covering, keep following the social distancing rules and wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds or more – especially when you return home.
The rule for Tier 2 not to mix households indoors is now extended to private outdoor spaces, so the only permitted mixing of households outside, apart from when you’re with your bubble, is in our parks and public spaces – but with social distancing and the ‘rule of six’. If you have symptoms, please self-isolate and get a test.
In the new year, we will be rolling out asymptomatic rapid testing to the community – so look out for information about this. We’re looking to do about 90,000 of these rapid tests over a six-week period in the new year.
First Ealing vaccine
Today was a historic day for Ealing as the first COVID vaccinations have been given to key health workers and this will be followed, over the weekend, to the over-80 vulnerable residents who have been called in for a vaccination appointment by their GPs. More vaccinations will be delivered
in the coming weeks from various vaccination centres in the borough – giving us hope for a happier new year.
Over the festive period, please be cautious and try to follow all the rules at all times. And even go beyond the rules where you think that’s the safest thing to do. The virus is virulent at the moment and we don’t want to make the festive period a super-spreader of the virus that will result in the death of our loved ones in the new year.
Please do enjoy this holiday season, albeit it’s very different from previous ones. Let’s support our local shops and businesses. Try and travel and shop at quieter times and, as I’ve said, always follow the rules.
Christmas lights thank you
I’d like to give a big ‘thank you’ to the sponsors of our Christmas lights in all our town centres. Businesses are under greater pressure than ever because of COVID but they have generously stepped forward to pay for these festive lights. Please enjoy them but stay safe by following the rules to save lives.