Richmond and Kingston Covid-19 Update: April 8
As of now, the Prime Minister remains in hospital for close monitoring. Hospital authorities assure us he is stable and responding to treatment. We continue to hope for his full and speedy recovery. While we wait to hear that he is on the mend, here is the news for today:
We have not had calls about this from constituents yet, but there have been a lot of reports about increasing domestic violence in London and throughout the country. The victims of domestic abuse suffer in silence during ordinary times, and during lockdown the violence will be both more serious and more easily hidden. Please, if you are suffering from domestic abuse, or suspect that someone you know is being abused, contact Refuge at any time of the day or night on 0808 2000 247. Government departments at all levels - national, city and local - are working to increase resources for domestic abuse victims.
We are getting a lot of calls and messages about the slow provision of both PPE and testing. Munira Wilson, our neighbouring MP in Twickenham and the Lib Dem spokesperson for health, has been leading our push to get the government to improve its response in this area. I spoke to government representatives on Monday and they assured me they are ironing out the supply chains as quickly as they can. I hope to see improvement this week.
The NHS has produced this excellent guide for parents explaining exactly what to do if your child displays different symptoms.
Please download it and share it with other parents:
Please be advised that the Minor Injuries unit at Queen Mary Hospital has closed and has been relocated to St George’s Hospital.
The Mayor's office has announced that based on the Government’s current projections, and if people continue to follow the rules, the NHS believes they should be able to remain within their capacity limits in London.
Job Retention Scheme - Updated Guidance
HMRC has published further details on GOV.UK including updated guidance for both employers and employees. The advice will be further updated shortly to offer:
more detailed information on scheme eligibility
further information on how to calculate a claim
clarification of what constitutes wage
British Citizens and Residents Stranded Abroad
The Foreign Office has announced a cap on the cost of a seat on its chartered flights based on how long the journey is. A flight under six hours will be capped at £400 per person, flights between six and ten hours capped at £600, and flights over 10 hours capped at £800.
Housing homeless people
The Greater London Authority is working with councils to ensure that all homeless persons have somewhere to shelter. Please report any sighting of rough sleepers to Streetlink here: https://www.streetlink.london/Streetlink_London_HomePage#
The number of people using the Tube and rail services in London has dropped by well over 90 per cent compared to the same time last year. This allows vital workers in the NHS and other critical services to get to work safely.
TfL will be trialling middle-door only boarding on buses from this week. This is to give more protection from Covid-19 to bus drivers.
Mayor Khan is reiterating that only key workers making essential journeys should be using public transport. It is vital that everyone follows advice and does not return to the transport network over the Easter holiday.
Increase in residents using digital libraries
The number of people registering for one of Richmond Libraries' online services has increased by 365%, as residents in the borough look for ways to entertain themselves while staying home. For more information and to access the digital library, please click here. To apply for a Richmond Library Card online, click here.
I am still getting calls every day from constituents who are upset by construction work going on in neighbouring properties. I would like to reiterate that this is not the time for doing non-essential work on your home or business. It puts your builders and everyone around them at risk, and it is not considerate towards your neighbours. I am again asking everyone to try to be the neighbour you want.
If you have building work going on near you, Richmond council’s noise service can take action only if the site is operating outside of reasonable working hours. If residents want to make a complaint they can contact the noise team on 020 8871 6127 or Report it online
If you are concerned that any building site is not following safe practices for social distancing during the pandemic please contact the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) by completing the form on the HSE website.
Statement from the Council on park use
Over last weekend, use of parks around Kingston was not at high levels compared to other London boroughs, so we want to say a big thank you to everyone in Kingston who followed the guidelines. We must all keep up these efforts despite the fine forecast. Please do not be tempted to gather in groups, arrange picnics, have bonfires or sunbathe over the holiday weekend. Your efforts will help protect the NHS and save lives.
Young Kingston and Richmond Artists
The Kingston Artists Open Studios tour event has sadly been cancelled, but the Young KAOS art competition, for artists aged 16-19 living in Kingston or Richmond boroughs, is going ahead as planned. They have extended the deadline to May 8th. More details at: http://www.kingstonartistsopenstudios.co.uk/young-kaos/?fbclid=IwAR2nVdrMALpRrjEnmsM_am349Kv3V9NDveN9v1IMDO6fvGp2n_T3kXKcdA
Biodiversity live streams
Kingston's Biodiversity Officer Elliot Newton will be joining the ‘Earth LIVE Lessons’ YouTube channel to explore ‘London’s Hidden Hunters’. Tune in on 11 April at 11am to find out about woodpeckers, dragonflies, bats and much more. In the meantime check out Elliot’s first lesson on urban nature.
I hope we will have better news on the Prime Minister's health tomorrow, and that we will in turn have more good news for him by each doing our part to slow the spread of the virus.