COVID-19 Advice - March 20
STAYING HEALTHY, KEEPING OTHERS HEALTHY
In my own time out of doors and buying necessaries in shops, I have noticed that many people are not leaving the recommended two metres between themselves and other people. I have been asked by a constituent to please remind everyone that the person in front of you in the queue at the grocery store may be vulnerable. Even if you are not concerned for your own safety, please have a care for them and stay well back.
Many people who are vulnerable to infection, such as those with suppressed immune systems or asthma, may be young and may not look obviously unwell. Standing close to strangers may increase their anxiety as well as their risk of infection, so please be polite and give everyone else the recommended two metres of space. This also includes other people using the parks if you go there for fresh air and exercise.
Please also stop eating in restaurants, pubs and cafes. We have all been asked to avoid public gatherings, and that includes eating and drinking out. All of these businesses have been told they are now permitted to operate takeaway and/or delivery services without the need to notify the authorities, so it is fine to use them in that way. But please do not ask them for table service, as the government is asking them not to offer this.
The NHS has produced this good short video about the symptoms of Covid-19:
FURTHER DETAILS FOR GCSE AND A LEVEL CANDIDATES
The government has announced details of its plan to award GCSEs and A Levels later this year. The announcement says,
"The exam boards will be asking teachers, who know their students well, to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead.
To produce this, teachers will take into account a range of evidence and data including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment – clear guidance on how to do this fairly and robustly will be provided to schools and colleges. The exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student, which will be a best assessment of the work they have put in.
Ofqual and exam boards will be discussing with teachers’ representatives before finalising an approach, to ensure that it is as fair as possible. The aim is to provide these calculated grades to students before the end of July. "
SCHOOLS REMAIN OPEN FOR CHILDREN OF KEY WORKERS
All schools are being asked to stay open if possible to provide on-site education to vulnerable children, children with additional needs and children of workers in key sectors.
Please see this page for more details of which children are in these categories:
If your child's school cannot stay open because of staff shortages, your local authority will arrange for them to attend another appropriate school, as near to you as possible.
Vouchers will be introduced for children who are eligible for free school meals being educated at home due to Covid-19. These will be distributed through the schools.
Please note that public transport will be kept running to enable these workers to do their jobs, but Londoners are asked to avoid using public transport for non-essential journeys.
THE GOVERNMENT HAS PUBLISHED A LIST OF KEY WORKERS TODAY
I am pleased that the list is fairly broad, and it looks like most essential services will operate normally. There is specific information on members of each of the categories below here:
LIST OF KEY WORKER GROUPS
Health and social care
Education and childcare
Key public services
Local and national government
Food and other necessary goods
Public safety and national security
Utilities, communication and financial services
SIR ED DAVEY, ACTING LEADER OF THE LIB DEMS CALLS FOR EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FOR ALL , INCLUDING SELF-EMPLOYED AND UNEMPLOYED
Here is an extract from Sir Ed's letter to the Chancellor, setting out his specific proposals and his reasons for calling for this bold new initiative.
I have been contacted by many constituents who are freelancers or on zero hours contracts and whose income is vanishing.
I am urging the government to take immediate and bold steps to protect self employed workers.
LIB DEMS RAISE CONCERN OVER IMMIGRANTS' ACCESS TO TESTING
The Liberal Democrats have called on government to guarantee that no data will be passed from the NHS to the Home Office during the coronavirus crisis.
Under the hostile environment, there is a real risk that people who find themselves gravely ill with Covid-19 will be scared to seek treatment in case it leads to questions about their right to live in the UK. This fear may lead to greater transmission in the wider community as they avoid testing and treatment.
The government must urgently make clear that, regardless of your immigration status, if you are seriously ill, you can go to a hospital.
Liberal Democrats are calling on Government to scrap the hostile environment entirely, stop refusing Settled Status to EU citizens resident here, and give our many non-British key workers peace of mind.
The government has reached an agreement with all of the major energy suppliers to ensure that no one will have their energy supplies cut off if they are unable to pay their bills or top up their metres.
If you are concerned about paying your bill or topping up your metre, please check your energy provider's website for their Covid-19 policy. And if you do not feel they are responding appropriately to your situation, please email my office on email@example.com.
RELIEF FOR VENDORS OPERATING IN TFL STATIONS
TfL has announced that all small and medium enterprises on TfL property across London will get 100 per cent relief from their rent for the next three months. All tenants in London Underground stations that have had to be closed will also be given 100 per cent rent relief.
The major grocery stores have said there is no interruption in the food supply - empty shelves are just due to people panic-buying. If we all calm down and only buy what we need the shelves will be full again quickly.
Waitrose has been in touch to say they are reserving their first open hour every morning for the elderly and vulnerable and offering them priority delivery slots. Other major grocery retailers are introducing similar measures, along with limiting quantities for single purchase.
If you care for someone with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia, there is useful advice for you in supporting them here: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/coronavirus-covid-19
VOLUNTEERING IN KINGSTON
Kingston Voluntary Action has just opened their central registration point for volunteers.
If you are interested in volunteering in the Kingston community, please go to this page and scroll down to the registration button:
VOLUNTEERING IN RICHMOND
Register with RCVS Richmond to will be partnered with key groups who will allocate you to volunteering tasks https://richmondcvs.org.uk/
As always, please continue with your hygiene measures and social distancing, and put yourself in self-isolation if you or anyone in your household develops a persistent cough or a high temperature. NHS Guidance is available here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/