Like the many constituents who wrote to me about Dominic Cummings over the weekend, I am furious about what I have heard. It was bad enough that he'd broken the rules everyone else was following and traveled to see his parents, but he apparently left his home while he - or a member of his household - was showing symptoms, which is strictly not allowed.
Many, many parents have struggled to look after their children during the lockdown, working from home, homeschooling, taking care of them while suffering themselves. I know of several families who have had to take care of disabled children without the support they normally get from carers. My sympathies go to all those families and individuals who have suffered and made sacrifices during this difficult time, but who did it because they knew it was necessary for the community to beat this terrible virus.
It is insulting that the Prime Minister not only continues to support this man whose conduct is a slap in the face to everybody who did the right thing, but also to get the Cabinet to tweet their support. My concern is that, by doing so, the Government has surrendered the priceless moral authority they need to compel the country to continue to stay locked down. If people start to think that it is acceptable to start visiting their elderly parents or leave their home when exhibiting symptoms, then we will lose control of the spread of this virus and more lives will be lost.
I have written the letter below to the Prime Minister to share the anger and disgust that my constituents have expressed to me, so that he is in no doubt about how his response to this revelation has been received in Richmond Park.
REMINDERS FROM PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND
Current guidance from Public Health England to anyone experiencing Covid-19 symptoms remains as it has been throughout the lockdown: You must self-isolate if you develop a new, persistent cough OR a high temperature OR a loss/change in your normal sense of smell or taste. No one in your household should leave home if any one person has symptoms. For all the guidance on what to do if someone in your house has symptoms, click here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection
Anyone who has symptoms can go onto the national government booking portal and book a Covid-19 test. Up to three other members of their household can also book tests. You do not have to be a key worker or a vulnerable person, or get a referral from a health professional, to book a test -- you can book a test for yourself or for a family member.
There is currently plenty of capacity at our local test sites. Tests are most accurate at the beginning of an infection, so if you have any of the symptoms above please book yourself in as soon as possible. https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test
RETAIL BUSINESSES RE-OPENING JUNE 15
Yesterday, the Government announced that non-essential retail businesses will be able to reopen in England from June 15. Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to open from June 1. Both measures are part of the Government's staged plans to ease the lockdown, and are contingent on the situation continuing to improve. There is new guidance for retailers on how to protect shoppers and workers here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches
ENJOYING TIME OUTSIDE
I have been asked by a number of residents to remind people enjoying this beautiful weather by having a picnic to please tidy up after themselves and keep the parks clean.
YOUNG ROCKET DESIGNERS TALK TO HELEN SHARMAN
Last month, Helen Sharman, Britain's first astronaut, shared her experiences with young people across the borough. Children submitted their questions to Helen by video, looking at areas such as dealing with isolation, missing friends and family and how to exercise in a confined space. Helen responded in a video on the Council’s YouTube channel.
Richmond Council invited children inspired by Helen to create their own rockets using items from their recycling bins at home. One hundred and eight children got creative with toilet roll tubes, used plastic bottles, old newspapers and boxes. Rockets ranged from replicas of Helen’s own vessel to creative interpretations of how the young artists would like to travel into space.
VIRTUAL BAND EVENT
Kingston Music Service is inviting instrumentalists and singers to take part in a virtual band event, performing and singing music from The Lion King.
Join them in learning music from The Lion King and then recording it together as the Kingston Music Service Virtual Band on Saturday 30 May.
Please find further information and a sign up form here: