NEW MEASURES INTRODUCED IN RESPONSE TO RISING COVID-19 CASES
As of this month, Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser estimates that the number of new Covid-19 cases per day is doubling every week. We now have about 3000 new cases per day, and the numbers are still rising sharply.
In response to this alarming increase in transmission rates, the Prime Minister announced new measures for England that will come into force next week and last for at least the next six months. New measures include:
Office workers will again be asked to work from home if they can.
Pubs, bars and restaurants will be required to close at 10pm, and restricted to table or takeaway service only.
Face coverings will have to be worn in taxis and private hire vehicles, and by retail staff whilst at work.
Indoor team sports of more than six people will not be permitted, and the planned return of spectators to sports has been delayed.
Wedding ceremonies and receptions will be capped at 15 people from Monday.
You can see the full government advice here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
I urge all of my constituents to comply scrupulously with the new rules on mask wearing, socialising and working. I very much hope that these measures will be enough to halt the spread of Covid-19 so that we do not see further lockdowns, putting more pressure on our struggling businesses and schools.
TESTING SYSTEM STILL NOT WORKING, AND SHOULD PRIORITISE SEN TEACHERS
Yesterday, I joined with Ed Davey, MP for Kingston, and Leader of Kingston Council Caroline Kerr to send an open letter to the Prime Minister about the availability of coronavirus tests within the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. We are extremely concerned about the lack of appointments for Kingston residents on the government website, especially given recent photographs showing the Chessington testing centre sitting empty with a full staff and no patients to test. You can read the letter by clicking here:
I also sent a letter today to Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, drawing his attention to the acute difficulties faced by specialist SEN schools in staying open for their pupils when their teachers cannot get Covid-19 tests. A local resident who is an SEN teacher wrote to explain the particular importance of in-person teaching and social interaction for children with special education needs, and the hardship it creates for the children and their families when their education is continually interrupted by teachers self isolating while waiting for test results. I am calling for SEN teachers to be at the top of the list for priority testing. You can see my letter to Mr Williamson here:
NHS TEST AND TRACE APP GOES LIVE ON THURSDAY
From Thursday, you should be able to download the NHS Test and Trace App onto your phone at the Apple App Store or on Google Play. The app is designed to tell you if you have been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive for the virus.
Certain businesses are already required to take contact details for at least one member of every party of customers. In addition to keeping track of whose phone your phone has been close to, the new app will allow you to "check in" at restaurants, pubs and entertainment venues automatically by scanning a QR code upon arrival. If you don't use the app to check in, the business will still need to ask you to supply your contact details manually.
Businesses are required to refuse entry to those who refuse to participate in the above rules.
It's London Car-Free Day today, and to mark the occasion we asked Richmond Park residents to send us pictures of themselves walking, scooting or cycling. Here are some of the lovely pictures we received of residents doing their bit to be healthy and green!
FREE YOUTH ACTIVITIES AT HEATHAM HOUSE
Richmond Council is offering free after school activities for young people aged 10 - 19, Mondays to Fridays at Heatham House Youth Centre in Twickenham.
· Street dance
· Recording Studio: recording your own music and podcasts
· Rehearsal rooms for local bands/rappers/singers
· Art room
· Photography studio
· Pool table and table tennis table
· Nintendo Switch and Xbox One
· Sports facilities: 3G Football Pitch, Basketball Court, Street Tennis and Skatepark
They have other specialist sessions for young people too. Please open the full timetable below to find out what else is available:
NEW POND IN HAM COMMON WOODS
The Ham and Petersham Association has been in touch with their local news, including letting residents know about the new wildlife pond in Ham Common Woods. The new pond, dug by Richmond Council working with the charity Frog Life, adds a further habitat to Ham Common Woods for toads and also for invertebrates. They are also looking at ways to improve facilities for the Forest Schools that use the woods.
Ham and Petersham has recently been awarded gold by London in Bloom again, thanks to the hard work of residents across the area making a wide range of improvements, including the work on Ham Common Woods. You can see the full submission to London in Bloom, including lots of lovely pictures of the improvements made, by clicking here: http://hamandpetersham.com/londoninbloom2020
KINGSTON HOSPITAL MATERNITY WARD SUPPORTING NEW MOTHERS
I wrote to Kingston Hospital this week to check on how they are supporting new and expectant mothers during Covid-19, in response to a national push to get hospitals to allow birth partners to be present in labour and at ante-natal scans. I am happy to report that Kingston Hospital replied that this has been their policy throughout the crisis. Mothers can have a partner with them, unless the partner has Covid-19 symptoms or has been in contact with a Covid-19 case. If the partner is not able to be with her, the mother can be accompanied by another friend or relative. Kingston Hospital let me know that they consider supporting the mother emotionally to be a vital part of maternity services. I was very happy to hear that they are taking such good care of new mothers in these difficult times.
KINGSTON COUNCIL ADVISING BUSINESSES ON NEW MEASURES
To assist businesses and link into the national Test and Trace scheme, Kingston Council is contacting Kingston businesses to advise them of the new requirements to collect customers' contact details and signpost them to the resources available to them. The Council is committed to keeping both Kingston businesses and their customers healthy.