As expected, the Government has just announced that current lockdown measures will remain in place for at least the next three weeks. Although the rate of infection has dropped considerably, they have set out five tests that must be met before any relaxation of the measures can be allowed:
1) Confidence in NHS's ability to cope with expected treatment needs
2) Sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rates
3) Reliable data showing that the rate of infection is decreasing
4) Testing supplies and PPE stocks in hand, with enough supply to meet future demand
5) Confidence that the relaxation of measures will not result in a second peak in infections
I understand that staying at home is difficult, and that the economic consequences of the lockdown for some constituents is very serious. But we can't abandon efforts that are proving successful in combatting the spread of the virus before we are confident that they are no longer needed.
Please, continue to follow government advice to stay home and observe social distancing rules when you do go out. And please do everything you can to try to keep both mentally and physically healthy until this crisis is over. See my resources pages at https://www.saraholneymp.org.uk/copy-of-covid-19-resources-1 for ideas about well-being.
If you are not sure what is and is not allowed under stay at home rules, you might be interested in having a look at this chart produced by the National Police Chiefs Council detailing "What constitutes a reasonable excuse to leave the place where you live."
OUR CARING HEROES
As it is Clap for Carers night tonight, I wanted to share this photo, which I received from a constituent today. He said he was unable to help on the front lines himself, so he made this sign to show his support for those who do.
I think you will all agree that it is expresses how we all feel with great imagination and skill.
I have received a number of emails from key workers to say how much the public support means to them, so please make plenty of noise for them tonight.
PLEASE SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IF YOU NEED IT
I also wanted to let you know that there is some evidence that people who have non-Covid related health issues are not seeking medical advice out of concern for overwhelming the system, or exposing themselves to the virus. Please, if you have a known health condition or worrying symptoms, seek advice in the same way you normally would.
If you aren't sure whether your symptoms merit a visit to your GP or if you should go to A&E, please call the NHS 111 phone line and talk to someone about it.
The NHS has produced this helpful chart for parents detailing what kind of medical advice to seek for different symptoms.
The chart does not just list Covid symptoms - it applies to all kinds of childhood illnesses and injuries.
Please share it with any parents you know and encourage them to print it out for easy reference. I've posted mine inside the bathroom cabinet!
KINGSTON NEWS: Urgent call for food donations
Kingston is still desperately seeking donations of food to help the most vulnerable members of the community. Their food supply chains are not enough to meet the local demand and they are calling on local residents, restaurants and businesses to help. Please visit www.kingston.gov.uk/coronavirus and click ‘How can I help?’ to find out how to donate.
WASTE AND RECYCLING
Both Richmond and Kingston Councils are working hard to maintain their regular refuse and recycling collections. With everyone at home we are all creating more domestic rubbish. I would like to ask everyone to please give some attention to managing your waste so as to keep pressure on these services down.
This might mean putting more thought into menu planning and shopping, to create less food waste. Or it might mean taking more care with breaking down packaging so it takes up less space in the bins and more of it can be recycled.
It will NOT mean having a bonfire, but it might mean starting a compost heap for your garden waste and/or food waste, following the National Trust's advice: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont/features/make-your-own-compost
Let's all try to channel some of that great British make-do-and-mend spirit, and send fewer things to landfill when they still have usable life left in them.
LIVE PERFORMANCES IN YOUR SITTING ROOM
If you are looking for something different to do tonight, more and more live performance venues and companies are making their shows available to watch at home.
The National Theatre is streaming a new play every Thursday night - this week's offering is Treasure Island, tonight at 7:00. Details here https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/nt-at-home
Ballet and opera fans won't want to miss the Royal Opera/Royal Ballet streamings, starting with the Royal Ballet's Metamorphosis tomorrow night. Their schedule can be found here: https://www.roh.org.uk/streaming
What's On Stage has a handy list of dozens of plays available in your sitting rooms. Check them out here: https://www.whatsonstage.com/london-theatre/news/stage-shows-musicals-opera-free-stream-online_51198.html