The Government's new mandatory fourteen day quarantine for travelers entering the UK was introduced today. This is a policy they should have put in place three or four months ago, before the virus entered the UK and spread throughout the country. It seems pointless to introduce it now, when we have one of the highest infection rates in Europe.
The Government has not specified how long they intend to keep this policy in place, but they have published a full list of workers who are exempt from the quarantine if they are traveling in and out of the UK for their work. You can see the list here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules
If you are traveling this summer for personal reasons, or for work that does not fit in one of the approved categories, you will need to quarantine at home upon your return. More details on the new rules can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/public-health-border-measures-to-come-into-force-next-week
And I would like to remind everyone, regardless of any travel you may do, to get yourself a Covid-19 test if you have a fever, a persistent cough, or a change in your sense of taste or smell. You can book your test yourself here: https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test
BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTS
I am both worried and heartened to see the wave of Black Lives Matter protests both in the US and here in the UK. I am heartened because we definitely need both dialogue and action on racial discrimination here in the UK, but I am also concerned about the risks people may be exposing themselves to by meeting in large groups. Sally Benatar, our southwest London Met Police Commander, has written to advise people not to join these gatherings for the sake of their own health, and to maintain social distance and hygiene measures if they do intend to join them. Please, if you are joining a protest, wear a face-covering, wash your hands often, and keep your distance from fellow protesters as much as possible.
The Southwest London CCG has written to give me an update this week. They have come through the Covid-19 crisis without exceeding their treatment capacity, but are concerned that people are not getting other types of treatment they need. NHS England has found that four in ten people are too concerned about being a burden on the NHS to seek help from their GP. Many others are worried about catching the virus if they go to a healthcare setting. Our local NHS wants every person in the constituency to know that the NHS is here for them as usual. Please contact your GP or call 111 if you have a medical issue that you would normally seek assistance for. And, of course, please call 999 if you think you may need emergency assistance.
KEEP KIDS CONNECTED TO THEIR EDUCATION
A local organisation, keepkidsconnected, has been working with schools across southwest London to provide free laptops to disadvantaged schoolchildren who do not have access to a computer to do their schoolwork on. keepkidsconnected collects spare laptops up to 10 years old and in good condition. They securely erase the hard disks and then refurbish them. The schools distribute the laptops to pupils identified to be in need. Demand is outstripping supply, so if you have an unused laptop or tablet that you could donate, please go to www.keepkidsconnected.co.uk/donate or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
YORK HOUSE LIT IN PURPLE TO SUPPORT BLACK LIVES MATTER
Ravi Arora, Director of Multicultural Richmond and Council Leader Gareth Roberts have issued a joint declaration of support for Black Lives Matter, saying“In Richmond upon Thames we place immense value on the broad range of ethnic backgrounds that make up our community. We share the world’s horror at the killing of George Floyd. We offer our sympathy to his family and friends. We are determined to ensure that our community is safe for everyone and will redouble our efforts to eliminate racism and racial disadvantage.”
The Council has lit York House purple at night to show support for the movement.
GOOD NEIGHBOURS RUN UP HILLS
Richmond Good Neighbours have written to me to say that their volunteers have completed the fundraising challenge they set themselves and climbed one and a half times the height of Everest by running up the Petersham hill in Richmond Park. 26 participants from the area took part, climbing in total an elevation of almost 12000 meters. They covered over 240km in 342 ascents of the hill. The challenge raised over £3500 for Richmond Good Neighbours charity. The organisers are very grateful to all those who made the ascents and to the kind supporters who have donated to their fundraising. For any further donations please go to https://gf.me/u/x32u6k
REOPENING THE TOWN CENTRE
Caroline Kerr, the Leader of Kingston Council, has written to me about reopening shops. She says that work to support the reopening of more businesses across local town centres from Monday 15th June is continuing and they are working with Kingston First, the Chamber of Commerce and other strategic partners to help businesses to do this safely. Guidance for businesses will be available this week and they will be providing access to signage, floor markings and posters for smaller businesses.
They are looking to use marshals in the initial reopening phase. They will be out helping with signposting, queue management and navigating through Kingston town centre.
The Council will be reopening council managed public toilets as soon as possible with enhanced cleaning regimes and they are encouraging businesses to open their toilet facilities too, if possible.